The Use of Distraction

We have all been there, we’ve scrolled through social media, browsed through our phones for hours upon end, we’ve lost ourselves in a hobby, or binge watched shows and movies. Truth is, all of these things are fun and can be done for pure joy, but also these are ways of distracting ourselves from reality.

We are all human beings trying to live and navigate our way through life the best that we know how. Our journey isn’t an easy one as we make our way through life’s unexpected paths and roadblocks, trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Now more than ever, we are living in very tough times which doesn’t help our already complicated lives.

For anyone who has studied Psychology, you may have learned that there are different coping mechanisms that individuals use for processing a stressful emotion or life event. Distraction is a type of coping mechanism, it allows you to step back from life, to zone out and “forget” reality for a bit. It’s fun to get lost in a show, or book about someone else’s life. Distraction is a great way to minimize anxiety and to take a break from life in order to come back more refreshed. On the flip side, if we spend too much time distracting ourselves from reality, this is a negative thing as we are not facing our issues in order to move forward, so a good balance is key.

The next time that you are feeling a strong emotion, or going through a tough spot in life, try a little distraction to distance yourself from what you are feeling and dealing with and see where that takes you.

Looking for an Escape

Some of you may instantly be able to relate to this and some may not understand this too well, but I felt it was an important topic to cover and one that has touched me personally. I have anxiety and have had it my whole life, it affects me greatly from my job to my relationships and something that I am constantly working on.

When things get overwhelming, it’s like an instant response to want to flee and escape. Yes, it may help us temporarily, but it will only harm us in the long run. We may change jobs, move far away, change our lifestyle, but our inner self remains the same and therefore we can never truly run from what we are trying to escape from.

When caught in something emotionally draining or anxiety-provoking it makes sense to want to remove yourself from that stimulus. The hard part, but the necessary part is to face the issue and try to remedy it and learn from it. Running away will temporarily relieve us, but if we never face it, or not try to resolve it, the issue at hand will follow us. You may have heard the saying that basically states that life is a test and that what we do not “pass” we will be presented with over and over again until we can learn to master it.

As hard as it is, try to sit back and focus on what the issue could be telling you, what message is it sending you, and how you can try to resolve the issue at hand. By no means will this be easy, but in the long run will be very beneficial to you!

Thoughts

Good morning my friends, Happy October! I’m sitting here deep in thought and wondering where time has gone. I remember exactly what I was doing this time last year and I can’t believe that was a whole year ago. Time really does fly and apparently still does even during a pandemic.

Our thoughts are everything and nothing at the same time. What we think is ultimately how we end up feeling and portraying to the world. Our thoughts can make, or break us. They are so powerful, yet it’s because we give them power. If we have a thought and try to look at it logically and to acknowledge the thought, yet not let it consume us, we realize that we are in control, we have the power. Regain control of your mind that likes to run so freely. A thought is just a thought unless we make it something more!

The Secret Behind Triggers

Do you ever feel like you are just going about your day and a certain situation, or person’s actions changes your mood in an instant?  We all have certain triggers in life that evoke a very strong and emotional response from us, these triggers vary greatly from one person to the next, but are very powerful as they are connected deep inside of us.

A trigger is something that evokes a strong emotional response, something that goes way deeper than average.  Triggers are anything that remind us of certain events from out past, they can be arguments, holidays, abandonment, traumas, public speaking, socializing, medical issues, the list is truly endless.  Sometimes we are triggered by something we are not even aware of, but our subconscious picks up on it.

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I am a pretty even-tempered person, even though my mind is steadily going, I’ve been told that I have a very laid back personality.  Just like anyone else, I have things that trigger me.  For me, the biggest thing that triggers me is when someone disrespects me.  I make every conscious effort in my being to respect others, so when that is not given, or returned, I have a very hard time dealing with it.  I am also triggered by being in a group of people, certain social situations, and being talked down to, or criticized.  These all create a deep emotional response within me.  I know that these things are triggers for me, so I work extra hard to think logically and not let my emotions get the best of me when they arise.  Due to triggers often being tied to past events, it’s even more difficult to control your response, which is often quick and automatic, but by realizing what upsets you and allowing yourself distance from the trigger, you can better manage and reflect.

Knowing your triggers and knowing yourself in general are very beneficial when encountering things that you know set you off.  If you are getting into a situation that you know will cause you stress and anxiety, you can prepare yourself mentally and hope for a better outcome than if you had not prepared.  Often times talking out a series of events, or even journaling can bring about some amazing insight that you may have otherwise not found.

It’s natural to want to avoid what triggers us because we don’t want the unpleasant feelings that come with it, however if we do not push ourselves to go against our fears, we will never conquer them.  Growth happens when you make an effort to challenge what controls you!

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Hamster Wheel

Our brain is a very interesting and powerful organ. Whatever we feed it can make or break us. Our minds soak up a lot of information including the thoughts that we have and if we are not consciously filtering our thoughts, they can really take over us. Sometimes this process is slow, or we do not recognize how we are shaping our brain, but it truly does eventually have a great impact.

Have you ever been thinking of something, or worried about something and then before you know it you are thinking about that thought over and over again? Or, maybe your mind may have thought up many new thoughts that led to other thoughts and then you forgot the one you were originally thinking about! Our minds can take a thought and run with it if we let it.

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You may have heard of the terms hamster wheel and snowball effect. Both describe what happens to our brain when we overthink, or think in an anxious manner. The hamster wheel basically describes how someone persistently thinks the same thoughts over and over again, but gets nowhere because their thoughts go around and around in circles like a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The snowball effect states that our thoughts continue to gain momentum and power the more that we keep thinking. Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down a hill, the thoughts keep gaining speed and power as it collects more momentum, our thoughts are fueling more thoughts.

These patterns of thinking happen to all of us, but I feel like they may be more common in individuals that are deep-thinkers, or are prone to anxiety. I know that I fall into both of these categories and once my mind gets going, it can be very hard to get it to stop. I have found ways that have helped though. First, it helps to calm the mind from all of the racing thoughts. Ways to do this include meditation, focusing on your breathing, observing details in the objects around the room you are in, anything that can shift your brain away from the current thoughts you are having. Once your mind is calmer, then you can put your energy into a project, or your to-do list, keeping active to avoid overthinking too much. If your mind was running because you were pondering a decision, or because of a question that you have, once you have relaxed some, try to look at the decision or question at hand logically and try to remove as much emotion as possible. Try to be mindful when your mind starts to wander astray from focusing just on the task at hand, which is to solve your question, or make a decision.

It is definitely easier said than done, but try not to let your mind run away on you! I still struggle with this often, but it really does rob one of a peaceful day. Having some control of the mind makes for a much easier way of life!

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