Posted on Apr 25th, 2006

When life becomes a bit too much to handle and I’m in need of some time out I use a simple technique, that of distraction; and for me at least, this works a treat.

When I do distraction, what I’m actually doing is breaking a pattern of my behavior. What this technique doesn’t include is shopping, telephoning or emailing friends because that’s what I would normally do during my working week.

I’ve listed several suggestions below that I’ve used in the past. Some have been joyful experiences and some worse than the reason why I needed a distraction in the first place.

As you read each one, write down in order of preference beginning with the suggestion that interests you most (however remotely), to the last which should be what interests you the least.

From this list try out the suggestions that interest you the least. Compare how you felt when you got out of bed to doing the least favored distraction.

Humor is good, absurd humor (for me) is even better. Absurd humor works very well for me and I have often used it successfully to distract me from thinking about things that have the capacity to turn an average day into a really bad day.

I remember the first time I did a public speaking gig in a large auditorium filled to capacity. Not naturally funny, it was suggested I open my speech with something witty. So I did. What did I hear? Crickets! I responded with “Well moving right along now…”

Some may find experiences such as this uncomfortable; I found it hugely funny and still do. Moral of this story for me is to stop trying to be funny because I’m not – and I think that’s hugely funny in itself.

To distract thoughts that have the potential to produce an unresourceful state, try one of the following suggested distractions (for men and women) … better still, try all of them if you haven’t already:

• Try out a new, intricate and complicated recipe – this will keep you going for awhile especially if you need to source obscure ingredients.

• Start an embroidery project, one with lots of different colored embroidery cotton.

• Read an autobiography – you may find their ‘real’ life experiences are much like ours, and sometimes worse!

• Complete a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of water scenes or the night sky.

• Read the white or yellow telephone pages – this will keep you busy for days on end.

• Choose a small area of garden and count the number of ants, and the species (apparently there are thousands), that run through in a four hour period.

• Count how many tiles you have in the bathroom and kitchen, and then do the same thing backwards.

• Start a knitting project.

• Start a sand art project using either bottles or paper.

• Paint your garden pots – better still watch paint dry!

• Bake a cake.

• Polish all your shoes and replace all shoe laces.

By distracting your self before plunging fully into an unresourceful state, you may find that good things have the potential to come to pass.

Your knitting or embroidery project could be a winner if entered in competitions, you could invite friends to share your newly baked cake or taste your intricate recipe, maybe you discover another species of ant, and your sand art project could just be the perfect gift for someone special.

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Michaela Scherr is a Transformational Coach, author of self help e-books and publisher of a monthly newsletter called From My Desk. Michaela is totally committed to helping others create positive and action oriented changes to their lives.

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