It might surprise you to hear that when it comes to
distractions, your brain can be your own worst enemy. You’re probably familiar
with the traps of social media and twenty-four-hour news cycles as distractions,
but the worries, fears, doubts, and 'what-ifs' that circle in your mind can be harder
to shut out.
The good news is that your brain can be reprogrammed. You just have to decide to take control of your thoughts. Here are some expert strategies to help get you started.
1. Focus on the Distracting Thought
It sounds counter-intuitive to think about your distracting thought, but it can help to face that nagging worry or fear and bring it out into the light. Trying not to think about your negative thoughts automatically makes you feel about them.
Voice your thought out loud or write it down. Talk it through with your partner or a close friend. Once confronted, the chances are that Bogey Man Thought won't turn out to be that bad.
2. Set Some Worry Boundaries
It can help to schedule some dedicated time to work through your distracting fears or worries consciously. Schedule fifteen minutes in your diary and write down all the things that are nagging away in your mind. Making those negative thoughts more conscious is the first step in being able to process and deal with them.
3. Have a Strategy
Sometimes, worrying thoughts come from feeling you don’t have any control over what’s happening in your life. Take back control by making a plan or a strategy. The plan can cover all your goals or just one project, depending on what you need and what’s worrying you.
Once you have a plan, you
can work through all the tasks you have to do. Make each completed job a
success by checking it off your list. When you see concrete progress, chances
are the nagging worries in your head will recede.
4. Do Something Completely Different
If your nagging thought is still doing laps in your brain, you can short-circuit it by working on a completely different activity. Make it something you enjoy doing, like walking in nature, playing sports, making a cake, or some other activity that requires your full attention.
Your brain can’t focus on too many things at once, so when you get into the flow of doing something you’re passionate about, there’s no room for that worrying negative thought!