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Let's Talk: Getting Distracted

Distractions have a bad rap, sometimes they are useful coping techniques

Mental Health Blog Get Distracted

One type of coping skill that tends to be easy for many people is a distraction. Our society today has an abundance of distractions and are often easily accessible.

What are Distraction Coping skills?

Distraction techniques are a tool for your coping skills toolbox. Distractions can help you manage your anxiety, depression, intrusive and overwhelming thoughts. If you are ruminating on the past or obsessively thinking about a future event, distraction techniques can help you shift your focus to your task at hand.

It is important to note that there are unhealthy distractions and healthy distractions being used in an unhealthy way. Using distraction as a coping skill should be made with intention.

Distracting yourself from negative thoughts and events can get a bad rap. Distraction is a temporary relief and not a permanent solution. There is a difference between avoidance and distraction; avoidance is never dealing with your issues. Make sure that you do not use distraction coping skills to avoid your feelings or issues going on in your life; however, using distraction to help you manage overwhelming feelings at the moment and work on those feelings at a better time.

14 Ideas to Get Distracted:


1. Listen to Music

Do you have a song that makes you happy or has a happy memory associated with it. You want to listen to music that is going to help you boost your mood.

2. Watch a show

Comedy is often a good option to distract you; laughing has a mood boost all on its own. However, choose a show that will get your mind off your concerns.

3. Read a Book

Try reading a book for 10 minutes. Do you have a book sitting on your shelf that you keep saying you are going to read or just a good book that brings you pleasure?

4. Listen to a Podcast

Do you have a podcast that puts you in a good mood, makes you laugh, or you find especially interesting.

5. Write a Blog

If you are a writer or not, writing about things you are interested in can be a great distraction.

6. Smell Essential Oils

You can try lavender for calming or a favorite scent that will put you in a good mood or help you relax.

7. Guided Meditation

A guided meditation can not only help you get distracted but can also help you relax. You can find them online or there are several apps.

8. Learn a New Skill

Have you always wanted to try something new such as: calligraphy, knitting, or a Tik Tok dance?

9. Reach for a Magazine

Do you have a stack of magazines that you have not gotten to yet? Read an interesting article or feel-good story.

10. Visualize a Stop Sign

Show your intrusive thoughts a stop sign and replace your thoughts with something more positive.

11. Watch a YouTube Video

You can find almost anything you are interested in online, try something that will make you laugh, smile, or try to learn something new.

12. Make a Gratitude List

List the things that you are grateful for including the small things…ice cubes on a hot day, a sweater on a rainy day

13. Schedule an Appointment You have Been Putting Off

Do you need to get your oils changed in your car or maybe you have been wanting to try therapy?

14. Clean Out Your Closet

You can get organized and give away items you no longer wear.

When you find a coping skill that works for you, stick to it, and practice it. It is important to celebrate your progress, no matter how small.

I spent the last few weeks talking about different types of coping skills and I encourage you to give some a try.

Get Grounded

Get Creative

Get Active

Get Connected

Get Distracted

If you are feeling overwhelmed and are still struggling with identifying and using coping skills try contacting a therapist.




Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.



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