Share the personal distraction strategies you use. The more distraction strategies we learn about, the more opportunities we have to STOP our automatic negative thinking cycle, so the more you can share the better!
When I was in college, I would go to the restroom in a stall and stretch for a few minutes. It gave me time to clear my brain and I was alone. It helped quite a bit.
I think a useful distraction could be anything which needs to be happen on the same place, so you would not run away when you feel anxiety. Like think of your girlfriend/friend when you met first time, try to remember that…while you try this…your brain will be distracted…good luck
Singing along to some of my favorite songs or stretching while taking deep breaths are working for me. I just began session three however so I still have some experimenting to do.
Well, as I mentioned in another post, today whilst I was at work I experienced the onset of blushing/anxiety and used the “STOP” statement. Then I got up, asked everybody if they wanted a glass of water and took a break from my desk to go get everyone a drink.
It worked well I think for several reasons.
It took me away from the location where my stress level had risen and let me focus on another less stressful thing.
I was doing other people a small favour (getting them a drink) and they acted grateful to me for it (positive feedback - very important!)
The cold water, being in direct contrast to my hot face, helped me take my focus away from my blushing and helped me feel more comfortable.
I’m only on day one of session three so I hope I can find other good distractions for use in a work situation. I’ve written another post about this on here.
Distraction Examples at Home
- Read a book that you find interesting.
- Read a self help book.
- Research a topic that you find interesting.
- Eat a healthy snack that you like (e.g. vegetables, oils, nuts, fruits, meat that is low in saturated fat, gluten free, etc).
- Read “Ultra Mind Solutions: Fix Your Broken Brain by Fixing Your Body First” by Dr. Mark Hyman. Great, interesting read in my humble opinion.
- Do exercise. A mix of cardio and weight lifting should be sufficient.
- If you don’t have a hobby, then find a new hobby and do it. Otherwise, do your hobby.
- Learn to play an instrument that you are interested in.
- Ride a bike.
- Go Kayaking.
- Learn a marketable skill by earning a certificate.
- Solve some challenging math problems.
- Take care of yourself. (e.g. brush your teeth, take a hot bath, exercise, practice mindfulness, etc).
- Watch soft core porn.
- Learn a new language.
- Learn a dead language.
- Learn a programming language.
- Go for a walk/jog in the park.
- Create a website.
- Write a computer software application.
- Learn something that interests you.
- Watch a show that you like.
- Become an expert at something you find interesting.
- Write a book.
- Go fishing.
- Build your character, if need be. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a great read for that.
- Learn about emotional, social, and abstract intelligence. All can be improved by neural plasticity.
- Call a friend if you’re fortunate enough to have some. Otherwise, don’t feel bad. Say to yourself that “You have the power to make friends because you are human too”.
- Look into getting a genetics test done, so psychiatrists can better prescribe medication to you by determining if your body properly metabolizes the medication via enzymes you do have.
- Listen to beautiful and positive music that builds you. Not the hateful, garbage music that’s out there today.
- Go shoot some hoops (i.e. basketball).
- Go swimming.
- Try going on a dating website.
- Watch a comedy movie with clean humor. Not the garbage “make fun of people” comedy.
- Plan what you want to accomplish in life.
- If you don’t have any goals, then create short term and long term goals for yourself and set out to complete them. Otherwise, do what needs to be done to reach your goals.
- Go volunteer for a worthy cause (e.g. feed the homeless, take care of animals, save the whales, etc.)
- Remind yourself it takes 30 days to learn a new habit.
- Practice mental calculation.
Distraction Examples at Work
- Buy wireless head phone set and listen to music while you work.
- Go for a long walk outside as a break.
- Go out to lunch as a break. If you can’t afford it all the time, then go out side and eat your lunch as a break.
- Distract yourself with your work.
- Take quite, deep breaths.
- Go for a break and drive your car around and explore.
- Desk jobs you should get up and stretch every 45 minutes to be productive. Use that as a distraction time.
- Google something you’re interested in.
- Strike up a conversation with a friendly colleague granted (s)he is not focused on their work at the moment, if and only if, your body is not in fight/flight/freeze mode. Try being proactive too, that is, before you have any ANTs at all. Reward yourself after work some how by doing anything you thoroughly enjoy.
- Try to look at the big picture at your work. What is being worked on? How is this helping the country, business, society? Feel good that you are a part of that big picture. Then start working again with your new perspective.
- If someone is bullying you at work and they’re causing ANTs to arise. Tell human resources about that persons bullying and how you dislike it.
- Be polite to your colleague’s.
- Get excited about your new hobbies, interests, skills, self help techniques, etc. that you have chosen from the previous list.
I hope this list helps some of you searching for distraction, or possibly inspires you to come up with some distractions of your own as well.
This isn’t exactly a distraction per se, but it helps. I’ve been wearing a rubber band around my wrist. Every time I have an automatic negative thought or feeling I snap the rubber band (not too hard). This little physical stimuli draws me, even if for just a second, out of my head and makes it easier to break the train of thought and tell myself that “this is not a healthy thought/feeling, I want to think/feel in rational and healthy ways.” It’s also kind of funny that I am popping a rubber-band around my wrist, so that helps too.
Music heals. 75% volume
I use a super discreet, but helpful distraction: mindfulness. I focus entirely on my body, and my sense - what I’m hearing, seeing, and feeling. I focus so strongly on these inputs that it pushes away the shame or fear spiral that the ANT or ANF would have otherwise consumed me (and that, my friend, is AMAZING in and of itself).