Dealing with an uncomfortable emotion can wreak havoc on our comfort system. We can try to avoid a prickly feeling, but it likes center stage; it will keep poking at us to the point where emotion trumps reason, leaving us feeling flustered and possibly regretful for things said or done in the heat of an all encompassing emotion.
When we attempt to bring our rational mind into the picture, one of the ways we can do that is with distraction. It is important to note that distraction techniques are not avoidance; rather they are useful activities that help shift us into a position that is closer to wise mind. Taking a few deep breaths to start, here are ten ways we can distract ourselves from an uncomfortable emotion:
- Get moving on a task you need to get done. Focusing on something allows you to feel productive.
- Pay it forward; doing something kind for another person allows you to feel altruistic, a higher-level emotion.
- Watch a funny show or movie.
- Complete a word puzzle such as a crossword. Work on a Rubik’s cube.
- Count to 10, forwards and backwards. Repeat song lyrics or a prayer.
- Get outside; fresh air and walking always help.
- Organize something; a closet, your calendar, your plastics cupboard 🙂
- Call a friend; inviting them out for coffee.
- For 15 minutes, resist the urge to act. Very often, that is all it takes to resist unhealthy behaviours.
- Use sensation; hold an ice cube in your hand, take a hot shower, wash your face in cold water.
Any one of these distraction techniques opens up the space for your rational mind to get a bit more wiggle room in the space that your emotions are occupying. When we allow some common sense to temper our emotions, we feel more grounded and prepared to deal with the situation in a calmer state.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@rosssneddon