When getting distracted is a good thing

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Photo of man washing a car

How often do you find yourself supposedly getting on with some job or other, and finding yourself distracted doing something else? Maybe you have a job that you have been putting off because it’s a bit boring, and you just check your social media before you start … 2 hours later you are still on social media and have not started the job yet!

Getting distracted is not a good thing when you have jobs to do. The brain has a natural tendency to focus on something interesting rather than doing something boring, and so distraction is often a big problem in getting boring stuff done.

The good news is that we can use this natural tendency to stop our anxieties and worries rearing their head. Anxiety occurs in different ways in different people, and one of the most common ways is worry. We worry about the things that could go wrong, and it seems to go round and round in our heads without ever resolving itself.

Worry is nature’s way of getting you to do something about a potential problem. If you worry about failing your exams, that worry encourages you to study more. If you worry about being late for work, it encourages you to run for the bus. Once you have done something about it – there is not need to worry. But for some people the worry continues going round and round in their heads, even though they have done everything they can.

And that is where distraction comes in. A very simple way to regain control of a worrying mind is to distract it. Find something that absorbs you – whether it is reading a book, watching a film or going down to the gym.

So if you worry about the car breaking down – make sure it is fully serviced and then you have done all you can. So if you find yourself worrying about it after that, just distract yourself. Do something that absorbs your brain into doing something else – whether it is doing the crossword, going out for a coffee with friends, or washing the car.

If you cannot manage your anxiety on your own, you may like to consider getting help. In my clinic in Fleet, I help people with anxiety. I use solution-focused hypnotherapy to help them get back in control of their lives and get rid of the unwanted symptoms.

Photo by Ethan Sexton on Unsplash

Tim Maude

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