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May 5, 2023

Distracting Myself from Feeling Depressed

I have had a long standing relationship with depression and anxiety, and over the years, I have found many ways to take charge and lessen the hold these negative emotions have on me. One of my favorite techniques is to distract myself. While I am in mid-thought ruminating or feeling annoyed about something, I pause my thoughts and think of something that makes me feel better.

During those early years of learning how to distract myself, I was fortunate to be broke because it forced me to find ways to be happy that are free. I learned to look up and be amused by clouds. I follow Dr. Patni’s advice and bow in gratitude whenever I see the sun. Listening to birds singing while I walk always puts a smile on my face. One of my favorites is to feel a breeze against my skin. Whenever I can, I walk by streams or rivers as the sound of running water energizes me. I am always amused at the way my dog romps when I take him for a walk. He doesn’t seem to mind that it is the same path everyday and that he is smelling the same bushes and lawns. It makes me realize even more that the simplicity of life is the most satisfying.

Distracting myself has helped me build better relationships. If I am annoyed with my husband, my mother or a coworker, I don’t allow myself to revisit the situation in my mind over and over. I have learned that it only makes me feel angrier, and that never helps. I interrupt those thoughts as well. I think of all the wonderful things that person has done for me, which soothes me and puts a smile on my face. Once I have eased down on my negative emotions, I am in a much better place to have a conversation or find a solution to whatever is bothering me.

My favorite part of distracting myself is my personal growth. When I was younger, people always made me angry, and I believed that my anger was justified. What I have learned from distracting myself in the middle of one of my inner rants, is that many times I am overreacting to a situation. Distracting myself has given me the awareness that most of the things I fret about aren’t a big deal. Now in the middle of an uncomfortable situation, I ask myself, “Is this worth feeling annoyed? Do I really need to be angry right now? Do I have to do anything here or will this go away naturally?” I have found that 99% of the time, it is me being overly sensitive and if I leave it alone and keep distracting myself, I will forget about it. The situation will no longer have a grip on me.

This technique has given me so much emotional freedom. I used to spend most of my time fretting and being upset. Now I have more time and energy to spend doing things that I love, which of course leads to less anxiety and depression. I feel better most of the time, and when I have those moments when I want to brood, I can quickly turn it around by distracting myself and thinking about the myriad of things in my life that are going well.

I spent many years of my life in a depressed state, so learning to distract myself wasn’t easy. Part of me wanted to stay moody because I was used to feeling that way. Even though I wanted to feel better, I was stuck in my negativity. Distracting myself gave me the nudge I needed to move forward and create a happy life.

Does this help you? I would love to know. Please leave a comment. My books provide self-help and self-care ideas to show you how to ease negative emotions, build confidence and feel empowered!

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Georgette Van Vliet  |  Contribution: 2,860