By Lauren Denos: 7/13/2015 (Mindset)

Focus is what people talk about all the time, and it is important, but there are times when distracting yourself is a great course of action.

Distracting yourself is good when you are obsessing about things that are negative and not helping you progress in your life. Focusing on the wrong things do not help you, so in that case you are better off distracting yourself verses focusing on things you do not want.

This is not a foreign concept, and just about everyone is going to go through this at some point in their lives. Think about a time that you were wanting to change something, but because things were not going the way you wanted, you focused on not having what you want. That is the time that distraction is a great choice.

This does not mean that you should completely ignore the things that are bothering you. It means notice them. Figure out how you can solve the issue. Put action steps in place, and then relax and focus on something else. If you are able to stay focused on the solution to the problem, and that makes you feel empowered and good, then you can stay focused on it. But if you are one of the many people who is putting the action steps into place (or not) and cannot stop dwelling on the negatives of the situation, then it is time to distract yourself. You can think of anything else as long as it is something positive.

Examples of this:

#1 You focus on how much you hate your job. Okay, this is good information to look at. Can you start to train for a job you like? If you can do that and stay focused on how excited you are about this new job, then great work with that. Yet, if you are just focusing on how much you hate your job or your coworkers, etc., then think about your favorite movie, make up extra stories that happened after the movie, or focus on how excited you are to take a hike over the weekend. It does not matter what it is, just get your mind onto something else.

#2 You want to lose weight. This is a big one that a lot of people obsess over. So, let’s say you decide that you are unhealthy and need to lose weight. You then make some action steps on what you are going to do to get healthier. If you can stay focused on how good you are feeling and how proud you are about how far you have come, then stay focused on this. If you are like so many people who wind up just thinking about how fat they are and hate looking in the mirror, however, then you need to focus on something else. Read jokes or listen to your favorite comedian. Laughter is a great distraction, and anything that makes you happier is something to do more of.

#3 Someone specific made you angry. This is another common one. Of course, first look at the issue. Did this person really do something wrong? If so, then you may need to just cut ties with them. Or if they did not intentionally do something wrong, then you need to talk to them. After you have found the solution to the issue, let it go! The only person you hurt by staying angry is yourself. Pour yourself into something else. Go on a walk and appreciate nature, go workout to relieve some of the anger, or hang around other friends and play games. Again, it does not matter what you do, just distract yourself from this anger. It is not helping you.

The thing that everyone is striving for is happiness. No matter what your goals are. Whether it’s weight loss, money, relationships, career success, or to be healthy on an all chocolate cake diet, we want this thing because we believe that it will make us happy. When you are focusing on all this negative self-chatter, you are moving further away from being happy. If you are working towards a goal, you are going to make your goal happen, but that does not mean that you have to stay focused on the negative aspects of this.

Do not ignore problems, deal with them. Once you have done that step, if you are in a negative place, see if you can focus on something positive and productive. If you can’t, then distract yourself. Before you know it, you will be in a happier place and the thing you were upset about will be in the past.



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