The Art of Distraction


I admit I’m a worrier and I’m rather compulsive about it, especially when it comes to my health. You ever get a pain in your body and you think about constantly? You wonder what it is…you look up information and make some horrendous self-diagnosis and think about how many months you have to live because, obviously, you have a tumour. You think about it and think about it and sure enough the pain gets worse. Then it turns out you’re just constipated or something.

monkey20brain

Bad case of monkey brain.

The point is, our brains and the thoughts we dwell on have power. The more you think about something bad the worse it gets. Can you imagine what would happen if we dwelled on awesome stuff? I gotta try that. Seriously….I want to compulsively think about all the awesomeness the world is going to bring me this week. I’ll do that and let you know how it works out in next weeks blog.

As per usual…I’ve been obsessing. This time it’s been about my teeth. I recently had a new filling put in and it’s still pretty sensitive. Of course it’s only been a week and it can take 2-4 weeks for a filling to calm down. Of course my freakishly over brooding brain starts rolling ALL sorts of crazy things. “Maybe the dentist missed something…maybe it’s not filled right..” The list goes on and on. Of course the more I think about it and brood on it…the worse the tooth feels. In my rational thinking, I know it’s just sensitive and the fact that I’m dwelling on it and clenching my jaw (I do that all the time by the way) doesn’t help. So here’s what I noticed….Distraction is awesome!

If you give your brain something else to do, you totally forget about the thing that bothered you in the first place. Give your brain something else to work on. My monkey brain needs things to keep it occupied. I started to notice this after I started bass lessons. During my bass lessons, I totally forget about everything in the outer world. I am so focused on learning new things and making the right notes that my brain has no time to obsess about anything else. Knitting also does that for me. I figure meditation also fits into the category. Could knitting, bass lessons and meditation all be considered the same thing?

The point is, I believe that, in addition to the yogaia.com sessions I’ve been doing each day, keeping my brain occupied with tasks I enjoy has helped. I do bass lessons and knitting because I enjoy them, not because I have to. I always used to shy away from doing extra things but at the time, it was responsibilities I felt I had to do. These included volunteering at my kids school, parent teacher meetings, major chores and grocery shopping (the devils task). After I saw the doctor and psychologist about my stress symptoms, they both encouraged me to cut away as much I could from my schedule, even suggesting I take a 4 day work week if it was at all possible. I dropped all the extra things I could, but still obsessed about chores and who did what. I was very good at the blame game and martyrdom. “If I don’t do it, no one will.” or “S/he will never get it right!”. I also used to (and still do sometimes) keep score.

Keeping score is when you go over your entire day, week, month…lifetime, etc. and start calculating how much you’ve done compared to someone else. There’s no way to win that contest. When you keep score, you’re only egging yourself on to do more of what you didn’t have to do in the first place. The combination of “S/he will never get it right” with keeping score will suck your will to live. Here’s an example…

“Oh goodness. Look at all the laundry! Why isn’t the laundry done? Why doesn’t anyone else do it? They’d just mess it up anyway, I better do it. I wash the laundry, do the dishes, clean the house, run the kids around…yada yada yada. See how much I do!? I’m so stressed out? Why doesn’t anyone else help me? GAH! BAH! People suck!”

It’s a terrible cycle. As soon as I figured out that the world didn’t end if I didn’t do the laundry, etc. my life got easier. There are very few things in life that we HAVE to do. It’s fun to think about. Try it sometime. It’s fun to realise that most things in life are choices and are totally in your power. You don’t have to run the kids to school, or go to work or do the laundry. Of course doing a thing or not doing it has consequences but it’s all choice. It’s kind of trippy when you really think about all the things you think you HAVE to do and realise that you really don’t have to do them. Freaky.

This weeks yogaia.com sessions have all been Yoga Nidra. Every stinking one of them. I’ve even got my daughter doing it now! She’s had problems falling asleep. I put the yoga nidra on for her and she was out in minutes. The power of Yoga Nidra, I’m telling ya’ll, it’s the shiz.

I like distractions, they keep my brain happy. In fact, I’ve been beautifully distracted by this blog and haven’t thought about my tooth. You know what? The pain went away because I was distracted. Get distracted people! Enjoy life and go find a sunset! A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

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