Insight for the Journey: The Proper Use of Distractions

Insight for the Journey: The Proper Use of Distractions

Shake it Off 

One of my hobbies is wood working. Whenever I pinch a finger or hit one with a hammer, I examine it while wincing in pain. If nothing is broken and I don’t need stitches, I have found that it is best to shake off the pain, distract myself, and move on. That’s an appropriate use of distraction. It seems that staring at the sore finger somehow merely makes it hurt even more. No amount of dwelling on it, talking about it, or reliving it will reduce the discomfort. Distracting yourself shifts your attention away from the pain and moves your awareness toward something neutral or positive. 

An Improper Use 

As mentioned above, distraction can be helpful. It can also be overused. There are times to talk things out, take responsibility for consequences, focus on solutions and look toward future opportunities. At those times, distraction techniques cause you to avoid problems you should face. Substance use and abuse often get mentioned as a way people distract themselves from the pains of life. It quickly becomes an overused defense, keeping people from facing difficulties and solving problems. Other time-wasting distractions include video games, gambling, television, and social media. These too, can get out of balance and keep you from important priorities. 

Finding a Balance 

Prompt, appropriate attention is necessary for a physical injury and an emotional wound. Once emotional harm has been acknowledged, consider shaking off the injury, using positive distractions, and moving forward. Doing this will reduce any growing bitterness and resentment. It will also keep you from wasting emotional effort that brings little or no positive result. Additionally, this strategy fortifies your positive character traits such as honesty, forgiveness, perseverance, understanding, and compassion for others. These positive benefits of distraction are available as you focus on your reaction rather than staring at the injury. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!

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