How to Mentally Distract Yourself When Your Anxiety Has Taken Hold of You

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How to Mentally Distract Yourself When Your Anxiety Has Taken Hold of You

When you’re in the throes of anxiety, it can feel as though the entire world is falling apart. Your fears take over, your head starts spinning, and all these thoughts come flooding in – with no way to stop it. It’s easy to hear from friends or family to “calm down” or “it will all be okay” – but will it? Countless times, you’ve tried to “wish” your anxiety away – but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. For many in addiction recovery, anxiety is a staple symptom of coming to grips with major change. Detoxification can bring about these symptoms, or anxiety itself could be something that you’ve been struggling with for quite some time. Either way, it feels like it’s hard to manage; thankfully, there are a number of effective coping skills you can utilize to improve the levels of anxiety that you have – and one of the first coping skills you should try is mental distraction.

Mental distraction has been defined as, “The technique of focusing on something else when your mind is preoccupied with anxious thoughts that are not proving productive.”, a UK-based organization, has noted that small-scale distraction techniques, such as the ones we’re about to show you, can greatly help break the inertia of anxiety running its course:

  1. Puzzles – what a better way to distract yourself than to focus on solving a crossword, a Sudoku, or a riddle? Pull out the local newspaper and find it towards the back or purchase a small book with puzzles just for these times.
  2. “Pointless” television shows – put on a movie that doesn’t require a lot of mental energy to concentrate. It could be your favorite movie or a comedy – something that you can take a breather on.
  3. Self-care – take a hot bath, read a good book, have a nap, call up a supportive friend or family member, go for a walk, cook a new meal, etc. Engage in some form of self-care, because not only will you distract yourself from the anxiety you’re experiencing, but you’ll also feel good, too.

One of the biggest challenges we tend to face with anxiety is believing that every thought is important. That’s not true – and with these techniques, we can start learning to apply meaning only to the thoughts that are productive for us.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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