Distractions – good or bad?

Distractions are not always a negative thing, you can turn them to your advantage.

What do I mean by that? Well, I am sure you have heard of the term “a welcome distraction”, when something happens that takes your mind off something else less pleasant? That’s exactly it.

When does distraction work?

Right now I am writing this post in the middle of the night as a way of trying to distract myself from my painful dislocated rib! If I just lay there in bed all I will do is think about it, the pain feels worse, it becomes harder to switch off. This just results in a vicious circle that seems impossible to get out of. Unless of course, you distract yourself.

This can work in many situations, for example if you feel sleepy mid-afternoon, you can do something else, make a drink, get a few minutes fresh air, go for a walk. Simple thing like this can easily perk you up and help you resist having that unproductive nap.

What else can it do?

The same goes for anxiety. I found my distraction in gardening. I wasn’t searching for any particular distraction, it just sort of crept up on me. I noticed that when in the garden, my mind was clear. The spiral of worry, overthinking, low mood, it just all seemed to stop when I was in the garden.

It doesn’t take away the anxiety altogether, but it does mitigate it and brings me into the moment. Focusing on nurturing my vegetables, fruit and flowers stops me focusing on negative thoughts.

However, I have found that the more time I spend in the garden increases my well-being overall and has helped me to manage the anxiety better, along with other coping techniques and medication.

One thing I try and do is not to over do it in the garden. If I work so much that I become exhausted (or worse, aggravate my rib) there is a danger. That danger is being put off by that negative feeling you had when you overdid it. I always like to stop when at the point of still feeling like I want to do more. This way I retain the enthusiasm to get back out there as soon as I can. Aiming to do about 50% of what you think you could do in any one session is a good place to start.

The answer is….

It is so pleasing that gardening is now being recognised, and being taken seriously, as a therapy in itself. As I have always suspected and I will say again, for every problem in nature there is an answer in nature.

Ah, my rib is starting to feel better already.

Do you have a distraction that is a winner? Share it in the comments below, I would love to hear it!