Last night I was chilling out watching my favorite box set when I became distracted by a car alarm is blaring outside my living-room window, I was that distracted I had to get up and check what was going on, to make sure it was not my car but I also had to rewind the episode I was watching as I could not remember where I had got to.
We are often distracted by what is going on around us but some of our biggest intrusions or distractions often come from deep within our own minds.
These distracting thoughts may be disturbing or just curious. You might remember a child who bullied you in school or start singing a song from an old TV commercial.
Whatever their nature, we can learn to make these internal interruptions work to our advantage.
Benefits of Distracting Thoughts
1. Feel connected – Remember that we all experience strange ideas and images at times. Reassure yourself that your imagination is natural and useful.
2. Distinguish between thinking and reality – It’s also comforting to keep in mind that our thoughts can be separated from your actions. Instead of feeling embarrassed about being irritated with a friend who talks too much, you can decide to show her more compassion.
3. Identify underlying issues – On the other hand, recurring thoughts could be trying to tell us something. If you’ve been wondering how your parents are getting along in their new house, it may be time to pay them a visit.
4. Prioritize your time for cherished activities – We all find it easy to focus on activities you love. The absence of distracting thoughts can be a clue that points out your strengths and interests.
5. Guide your thoughts – With practice, we can choose our thoughts. Meditation is one proven technique for gaining more control over our mind. You can measure your progress as distracting thoughts become less frequent and easier to put aside.
Managing Intrusive Thoughts
1. Forget about suppression – You may have played the childhood game where you try to stop thinking about polar bears. Pretty soon polar bears wind up being the only thing on your mind. You’re going to need a different strategy.
2. Let go of judgments – Similarly, accepting our thoughts makes it easier to deal with them. We can still be a kind person even if we sometimes perceive something unflattering about our mother-in-law.
3. Balance your load – Studies show that we can minimize distracting thoughts by working at the maximum efficiency for our abilities. Our minds tend to wander during tasks that are very easy or difficult.
4. Stick to your work – We can also train ourselves to fulfill our responsibilities even when we’re tempted to drop the ball. If you suddenly feel like calling a friend, wait until after you finish the laundry.
5. Still your mind – I know I’m not alone, many of us find it difficult to quiet their minds. Bringing our attention to our breath or an inspiring phrase can help us to clear our mind of distractions and live more mindfully.
6. Talk it over – Sharing our thoughts with others can be mutually beneficial. Our friendships deepen as we disclose personal information. Feedback from others helps us spot issues we may overlook. At the very least, your friends may find your imagination entertaining.
We all have thoughts that become stuck in our head. What matters is how we deal with them.
Devote your time to meaningful activities that absorb your attention, and work through sensitive issues until you feel at peace with them. You’ll gradually achieve greater control over your mind, and become more skillful at handling distractions.