Does your mind keep going and going? Are you burned out from the chaos of life? During these times, it’s difficult to force yourself to take a break from all the noise. We want to engage, we want to speak up, we all have our opinions and it must be heard. But If we don’t allow that time out, we end up with stressed out minds, which leads to hurting bodies. I want to encourage you to take a break often and try to calm your mind in these stressful times.  

I have two kids, aged 5 and 2.5. I’m constantly using distraction as a method of discipline. Lately we are using “look at the spider” for getting our little boy to snap out of his busy mind/body and relax for a moment so we can get him dressed, wash his hair, or really it could be anything. He doesn’t seem to want to do anything we want him to do these days. So using distraction for a 2 year old is so perfect. No need for yelling or chasing your toddler around the house. We love how our daughter has caught on and when she notices we are trying to get her brother to do something or not do something, she starts telling him to “look at the spider” or “look at the squirrel”. So, is this tricking him? Is this lying? Well, sometimes there really is a spider or squirrel and I think that’s actually how it started. We really did see a spider and we found out how great it worked so we continued to use it. My point here is that using distraction whether it’s the truth or not, is much better than causing a very stressful situation, which could include physical or emotional harm. As your child gets older, you will notice different forms of distraction work better. Sports, playing an instrument, art projects or cooking will keep your children entertained and happy. Our 5 year old loves painting and bike riding. I’m a true believer in setting the foundation, and if kids are kept busy with activities and jobs that enable positivity, it should be easier for them as adults to use these kinds of distraction methods to help them relieve anxiety.

Over these last few months, we’ve all had some stressful days, whatever the reason. I found that I was using distraction on myself to calm my mind. For an adult, our main purpose is to try to reduce anxiety and take our mind off of the situation that’s causing it. We are in full control whether we think about it or not. It may be something that is so ingrained into your daily routine that you do it everyday out of habit. You know that it relieves stress; you know that it works for you time and time again. For many, this is exercise. It could be a walk, a run, a hike, a bike ride. Something that is enjoyable and makes you feel good. For others, it’s simply talking on the phone to a family member or friend and laughing for hours. It could be watching a show or movie. We use distraction all the time and right now is a good time to consciously use it multiple times a day. If you are working, set the timer on your phone every one to two hours, and take ten minutes or however long you can, and do something that gets you “out of your head”. Here are a few things that I’ve done recently that have helped.

  • Gardening
  • Run with dog who stops to pee every block, so more like a walk-run and look at flowers
  • New project with kids
  • Clean and reorganize refrigerator
  • River and tubing with family 
  • Talking and laughing with neighbors on my walk, whether I know them or not
  • 10 minute morning meditation in the sun, focusing on deep breathing

Everyone is different. Do what works for you and maybe you’ll challenge yourself to something new. Please comment with what you’ve done recently and I hope to try! In good health and harmony, continue your days with gratitude and loving yourself inside and out.

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