Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Technique of the Week — Meditation, Mindfulness and Distraction

Meditation and mindfulness are techniques that I've mentioned and described here over the last couple of weeks. Both are under the detachment category as ways to eliminate negative self-talk. Both promote removal of focus, letting go of content, and/or recognition and acceptance that negative self-talk is only a thought, not a truth or fact.

Along the same continuum of detachment distance from the negative thought is distraction, literally defined as diverting attention. It's easy, quick and you don't have to practice to get good at it. It's a form of strategic allocation of attention. Instead of spending attention on the negative self-talk which causes stress, you purposefully focus elsewhere. You can focus on anything you want — as long as it works to move you away from the negative thinking. Listening to music and exercising work to change thoughts and emotion for many people, according to research by

Inevitably, until you finally break the habit, the negative talk will return. Use a different distraction, looking for and finding what works best for you: a trip to Facebook or U-Tube, a sexy romance novel, a phone call to a friend focusing on him or her, not you, going out to a movie. Your natural resistance will say, "I can't afford to waste time doing those things. I have work to do." From my perspective, the biggest waste of time is thinking negative thoughts. In addition, it is harmful and addictive. Much better to have a movie or Facebook addiction!
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