Waking up to Unhealthy Distraction.

Waking up to Unhealthy Distraction.

Every single responsibility we have in life could turn into a distraction. Work can take attention away from the family, friends can take attention away from studies, cleaning can take attention away from valuable time with children. Each individual experience prevents us from giving full attention to something else.

Our minds have a limited ability to be attentive, we cannot focus on everything at once. Distractions in themselves are not necessarily all good or bad. It comes down to how they are being used. Lets dive in a little deeper on this topic and see what we can find.

How distraction has been active in my life

It’s fair to say that I can be an easily distracted person at times. My attention becomes divided and my ability to focus decreases. When the balance in life is feeling off, I find that I become distracted quicker and more frequently.

I am finding that the balance in my life has been off. As a new mom, this role has been getting most of my attention. Of course taking care of Ada is of the utmost importance. But, so is taking care of myself as well as other aspects in my life.

Being someone who balances being in recovery, mental health, work, being a mother, etc, I need to make time for just me. With everything going on lately it is easy to get distracted. Getting distracted has taken attention away from feeling my emotions. The focus has solely been on being a mother and it’s taking a toll on me mentally. It has also been easier to put neglect my own emotions. And for a while I didn’t even realize that it was something I was doing.

My attention is much less often on doing things that are therapeutic for me such as playing guitar, writing, baking, reading, and getting to the recovery meetings I regularly attend. These are things that are important for me to do because they bring comfort and peace. I also haven’t allowed myself much time to just do nothing.

The Distraction of Inner and Outer Demands/problems.

Distraction Hands

It’s no secret, the demands of life can be very distracting. This includes both inner and outer demands.

Some of the outer demands that I experience include work, being a mother, and relationships. When I go to my job I am expected to show up and perform to the best of my ability. With the relationships in my life I have to be attentive and present so that I can keep them healthy. And, as a mother I must care for my daughter Ada. These are just a few of my examples and I’m sure that you have a list of your own. Anyone of these things can take away from the next.

And, then there comes the inner distractions or demands. These can be expectations that we have of ourselves or things that we think we ought to be doing, or even things that we think we have to be. We may place rigid ideas on ourselves and become distracted from just being who we are.

One downfall of distraction is the way that emotions can get turned off. When something feels uncomfortable or when emotions feel too strong it becomes easy to find something to take the mind away from them. Since the emotions are uncomfortable it can become desirable to avoid dealing with them. Distraction is a way to escape the current reality. This is where problems arise and things become unhealthy.

How distraction can be helpful

Like I said not all distractions are bad, in fact they can be quite helpful.

The other night Travis and I where playing with our daughter and she tipped over and hit her head. She started crying right away. We started to make happy noises, smiling, and clapping our hands which quickly made her stop crying. We realized that we had just created a distraction for her that got her mind away from hitting her head. It was a matter of seconds and she was smiling right along with us. This is one simple way that distractions can be useful.

They can serve as coping skills in the moments where we need to step back. Used as a self-soothing tactic distraction can be effective in helping to change a current mood and ease uncomfortable feelings. To step back from a stressful situation to take a few deep breaths or recognize a negative mood and engage in something that distracts from being upset.

When it comes to pain a little distraction is ok, but when emotions start to be numbed out that is when it turns unhealthy.

Dealing with distraction

Distraction Focus1. It begins with awareness.

It is important to become aware of how distraction effects day to day life. Focusing awareness allows us to pay attention which in turn helps us see clearly and in finer detail. Just like with any situation change cannot happen until you become aware of the current reality. You cannot become less distracted until you recognize that you are.

2. Focus attention on breathing.

I believe that no matter the situation you can never go wrong with taking a moment to step back and breath. It can help draw us out of what’s distracting. Breathing can help to interrupt negative thought patterns, ground us in the present moment, and help to calm the body and mind.

3. Make a list or reminders.

Making a list keeps things simple. It helps me to see clearly what needs to be done. Or leaving myself reminders to stay in the moment, let go, or check to see if I am distracted can also help.

4. Make time to do nothing.

We all need our own mental and physical space, so taking a moment to step away and disengage is important. And, when I say do nothing, I mean do NOTHING. Set down the phone, close the laptop, turn off Netflix, etc.

5. Do something that relaxes you.

If you are someone who simply cannot sit and do nothing, find something that relaxes you and takes your mind away from all other things. For me this could be breathing, listening to music, or playing guitar.

Conclusion.

It is helpful to determine whether the distractions in your life are healthy or unhealthy. There are too many important aspects of life that need attention for us too be constantly lost in unhealthy distraction.

Maybe the current distraction began as a healthy distraction and turned. However it started it is time to take life back from it. We need not be victims to either inner or outer distractions.

If you have been distracted too much don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s bound to happen. But waking up to it and deciding to find balance with all our responsibilities can be started right now. I hope you take the opportunity.

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please like and leave a comment below
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Love, Casey 🙂

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

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Releasing from Perfectionism Mindset.

Releasing from Perfectionism Mindset.

So I was at a recovery meeting the other day and an individual shared something that struck a heavy chord with me about Perfectionism.

What was shared sparked the realization that my brain tended to get stuck in a state of Perfectionism. Meaning, a state, that while I am in it, I am constantly judging reality based on an ideal in my own brain. That and when the ideal is not met, the world is not okay. At least the world from this perspective anyways!

But our perspectives have a way of blurring what is going on in the real world. They can also be blurring the fact that the world may be perfect just the way it is.

Wandering through life in a perfectionistic state like this can make life very painful. A life where hardly anything seems good enough does not lend itself to having healthy relationships. Since this Perfectionism doesn’t seem to just be pointed at ourselves, we hold others to our standards as well.

I don’t know about you but this State of mind and not being in the moment has also done immense damage to my mental and emotional health over the years. What is really a trip is that as I look back on my life, even recently, I seem to be on autopilot while acting out on it.

Waking up to perfectionism.

As I said the state perfectionism I get into tends to live on autopilot. Meaning that i am generally not aware that I am doing it!

But as I look back on my past and sometimes still today, I find a ton of evidence for my more perfectionistic side.

Here are some of the clues that we may be stuck in Perfectionism:

  • Having the feeling that something I just accomplished just wasn’t good enough.
  • Not having a healthy sense of pride for productive skills.
  • Being overly critical of something not completed exactly right.
  • Also Being overly critical of something done well.
  • Having the feeling of being a failure even when things are going well.
  • Setting to high of standards for what other people are attempting.
  • Not offering up enough healthy praise for jobs done well by ourselves or others.

For the sake of this article I am not so worried about the why this problem came to be a problem. We cannot do much about the past except do well for our present.

I realize that on a bad day, there isn’t much of anything that I will perceive as good enough. This isn’t right, that isn’t right, they aren’t right, life isn’t right.. There must be some ideal that I am connected to and absolutely everything is missing it’s mark. This can set off a cascade of disappointment, anger, or possibly self-pity.

Thankfully today I can feel when this is happening and do something about it. For many years I didn’t have a clue!

The Stress of Perfectionism

Perfectionism Stress

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

There is an important place for being rigorous in getting things done well. I also believe that there is a place for pushing ourselves and other people to work hard to do well for what we collectively set out to do.

But after a certain point, the rigor and pushing for a certain outcome turns into a pushy and unhelpful cause of unneeded stress. Maybe it will get something helpful done, but is all that stress worth a maybe? That is a conclusion we all need to come to for ourselves.

We may push people to do what they don’t care about. As well as attach ourselves to ideas that we believe we are supposed to care about, but at our cores we don’t.

Not believing in what I am working for is stressful. And so is trying to push others to work hard for what they don’t believe in, at least when they won’t follow the plan and be obedient!

So what is the answer here, just sit back and not challenge ourselves or others to become more skilled? Absolutely not.

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is about control. There is something in a Perfectionistic brain that seems to like having things just so!

Letting Go Perfectionism

Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

We have to find ways to let go of this control. That is,unless you are perfectly alright with beating yourself up! As well as harming relationships because they aren’t interested in following WHAT WE PERCIEVE to be the correct path.

I get it though, we desire what is best for the people that we care about, and yes this includes ourselves. It may hurt to let go, because we are invested in a way that may have once worked.

But the truth is that if we are willing to ease up on our Perfectionism, a better way will likely present itself.

There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to put the whole situation into a better perspective.

  • Am I working towards something that actually matters to me?
  • Do the people I am pushing actually want what I want?

These questions require honest self-reflection, to find out what we really desire. As well as some thoughtful conversations to find out what our relationships desire.

It takes some work, but ultimately could lead to using our and our relationships time and energy more effectively. This means more productivity and less resentment.

From Perfectionism to Realistic Perspective

If after reflecting and communicating you find that you are pushing for what you desire and others are on board, then awesome. I recommend spending time giving ourselves and those in our sights more compliments than criticisms.

This helps me from being too harsh and inflexible, allowing me let go and trust the innate intelligence of the people I surround myself with.  It also helps me stay in reality instead of locked into rigid ideals, which is a much more enjoyable state for everybody!

But… Sometimes our relationships have no desire to buy into our visions anymore. It may be a hard pill to swallow. This takes grieving on our parts, so that we don’t get caught in a cycle of anger, self pity and resentment.

Here are some of my personal resources If you need some help to let go. Mind you that using them does not guarantee results for you, but have helped me immensely over the last 9 years in recovery from my own issues.

 Tips for Grieving Ideals and Getting Back into Proper Perspective

  1. Surrender our thoughts and come back to the moment.
  2. Work on getting over disappointment.
  3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.
  4. Work on developing healthy expectations.
  5. Get priorities in order

I hope this article may help you ease up on rigid ideals you may be forcing on yourself and others.

In the end our relationships with ourselves and others benefit by our pushing for ideals that we all truly find important!

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please Like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow the conversation on our Facebook Page!

 

Much Love,

Travis Hagen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

I can Accomplish Anything, and so can You!

 

Being a first time parent had me thinking that it would be next to impossible to accomplish many things!

Being that baby is here who needs lots of attention. In the last month I have proven this to be wrong.

It turns out that I have survived motherhood since my husband has gone back to work! Like I had worries about in my last article. What a transition!

She keeps me busy, challenges me, and fills my heart so full of love.

I enjoy every second with her, even when she squirts poop all over me. With anyone else’s kid I probably would have been completely disgusted, but I found myself laughing when she did this. My whole world has changed.

I have survived bringing her to recovery meetings with me even though I was terrified of anyone touching her (I know over protective mother), carried on through the nights and days even though I really want to sleep. Also, I have made it through some hard emotions and have cried a lot.

One of the most challenging parts for me is finding the balance between being a parent, recovery, and staying connected with others. Maintaining balance is crucial for my mental health.

But, the thing is I have made it through. I CAN, AND AM DOING IT.

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I want to backtrack a bit for a clearer understanding on why this is such a profound thing for me. Although being a parent is a profound thing for everyone, I feel there is a deeper reason for these feelings.

Currently I am six years clean. I have spent this time building up my life to what it is today. But, there was a point before I got here that I couldn’t have imagined this life for myself. I remember quite vividly the moment in active addiction when I settled for the life that I had.

There I sat outside on my step smoking a cigarette (I quit 5 years ago) thinking about all the things that I would NEVER accomplish in my life. I thought that I would never stop using, go to college, get married (or be in a healthy relationship for that matter), have a safe home, or have a family of my own. These are all things that I deeply wanted to accomplish while when I was younger.

This was such a horrible and sinking feeling, and the saddest part is that I was accepting it!

I was doing the best with what I had. What I had wasn’t much and there were many of things that I needed to learn. I was such a broken person and I broke everything around me as well.

What I didn’t know is that I could find a new way to live. Sure, I tried to “stop” using one drug or the other thinking that it might help solve some problems, but I could never fathom the idea of quitting them all.

Not admitting that I had a problem or knowing that I could accomplish living a better life kept me sick for a long time.

After going to court on several occasions, good things finally started to happen. The judge finally sent me to treatment for addiction. At the time I thought it was ridiculous. There was a part of me wanted that safety. I was finally going to get away from the life that I hated living.

I stayed for several months in a facility in Fargo, ND. It was the best thing that had happened to me in years.

I started a new life clean while discovering who I really was. This is when all those things I settled for never having started to happen. The longer I stayed clean the better my life became.

I went to college, met my husband, got married, bought a house, and had a child. All of this became possible because the recovery program I attend showed me that I could get clean, stay clean, and find a new way to live.

It might sound funny but, I am grateful for everything that has ever happened to me. All the trauma that I went through and all that I did lead me to where I am now. Had things been different who knows if I would be here today.

I didn’t choose to be an addict. Some days I feel that it chose me. I am here to make a difference now. Even if I only touch one person’s life I know that I have done enough.

The point is, is that I did it. I got through it all and came out on the other side. I believe that no matter what happens in life we can always move forward and do the things we think are impossible.

Maybe you are not an addict like myself, but of course we all go through our own hardships. If you are working through a tough time, please take note of a few things!

  1. There is a way through the pain!
  2. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished and the steps you are taking and have taken to get there.
  3. Remember that you are worth it and never forget that.

Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this! If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

  1. Please like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Love, Casey

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

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