One of my favourite methods to deal with negative emotions from sadness to anxiousness, anger to negative thoughts is a distraction, this can also be used to break a craving cycle for those trying to overcome habits or unhelpful behaviours
My life is amazing in many ways, and I have lots to be thankful for yet I also find many times feeling down, sad, angry, jealous, and beating myself up. I won’t go into detail as my friends read this blog and they’ve heard it many times before. ( You know who you are and thank you x) Occasionally I allow myself time to process these feelings especially if I think they are serving a purpose (being helpful), but most of the time they just make me feel, well pants, and that’s not helpful so I need a way to escape my negativity and crack on with the day. Here’s how I do it:
Firstly you need a list of distractions for you to choose from. These are personal to every individually so write your own, this is a good distraction in itself, but to give you a flavour, here is some of mine to give you an idea of where to start.
Jess’s distraction list:
- Do a headstand, it’s hard to think anything other than “the blood is all going to my head”, (plus it reminds me of being a kid, and I’m always smug that I can still do them)
- Play sudoku
- Go for a walk, make it mindful, count trees, or make a mental list of everything I can hear, or the animals I see, or collect leaves.
- Call a friend or family member (Do not text!)
- Breathe, 3 minutes of in for 4 count and out for seven count, or do this whilst standing on your head
- Write down 5 things I am thankful for
- Create a dance like a loony play list
- Listen and dance to the ‘dance like a loony’ playlist
- Sing, when my children were babies and I couldn’t stop them screaming, I would sing nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme, yes it might soothe them (with my voice I doubt it) but mainly because it keeps your breathing steady, short in breath, long out-breath so is great for staying calm.
- Make a musical sing playlist, include: Whistle a happy tune from the King and I, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and I love to laugh, spoonful of sugar, from Mary Poppins, bare necessities, Hakuna Matata, (message me with other suggestions please)
- Do 20 squats
- Have a bath, (fall asleep in it, bliss)
- Listen to a meditation (I like Buddhify app)
- Read a book, work or fiction as long as it is absorbing
- Write a blog (See what I am doing here?)
- Give my kids a hug
- If kids aren’t available, hug a guinea pig
- Go to the gym
- Go for a swim
- Listen to a ted talk
- Attack my to do list with vengeance
- Hoover, (well Miele, but you wouldn’t know what I meant if I said Miele, and I couldn’t be bothered to type vacuum)
- Cook cakes or biscuits (ok so this isn’t really on my list but it will probably be on others and I feel virtuous by adding it). Edit; on Sunday I was getting overwhelmed with sadness, good old personal life, so I cooked a roast dinner, worked a treat, I was far too busy cooking to keep feeling sorry for myself and by the time I’d finished the kids were back and ate it nicely so that was a result.
- Count backwards from a big random number like 2375 in 3’s
- Go and have a cuppa with a friend
- Go for a jog (those that read my last blog will know that jogging keeps my head very busy, not always in a good way but it is a challenge and a distraction)
- Watch a movie
- Remember the last few times I laughed (my daughter holding her nose and raising her shoulders up and down, whilst, get this: breathing through her mouth, when asked what she was doing, she said “Seeing how many I could do”, “seeing how many what you could do?” “Up downs” she said, “but you were breathing through your mouth” I said, to which my belly rolled, my face creased and my eyes watered with laughter, with all 4 of us, me and the 3 munchkins hysterically rolling around. My daughter was laughing as hard as me too and she said; “we have happy tears”)
- Which reminds me; write a list of things that make me happy
- Read the list of things that make me happy
- Write a list of tv moments/ you tube clips that make me giggle
- Watch the list of tv moments/ you tube clips that make me giggle
- Colour in (Again, not my thing unless kids are doing it and I’ll join in, I might add doodle as I like doodling)
Anyway, you get the idea, why not give it a go, keep it close to hand and next time you experience unhelpful thoughts that you can’t shift, or you have a craving for something unhelpful, grab your list and take your pick and off you go!
I’d love it if you wanted to share your lists with me, always like to steal good distraction ideas. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org