7 productive distractions to effectively reduce stress
When done right, distractions can help us regulate our emotions – and, with the perfect activity, you could be introducing another layer of joy into your life
1. Go for a mindful walk
Going for a walk is a recommendation we’ve all heard before, right? Being mindful on your walk, however, can take things up a notch. Allow yourself to be fully present during your walk; what are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you smelling? Engaging with your senses has a grounding effect, and can distract you from swirling thoughts, all while reaping the benefits of being out in nature.
2. Write a letter to a loved one
Connecting with others has a host of benefits, and, thanks to technology, there are more ways to connect than ever before. When you need a distraction though, why not slow things down and write a letter? Taking time to hand-write your conversation can help to slow our thinking and take a beat. And, let’s be honest – who doesn’t love receiving post?
3. Organise something
We’re all different, but for some of us, a cluttered space can make our minds feel cluttered, too. Having a moment to tidy and organise a space gives us something physical to do (grounding us in the here and now) while taking our mind off of whatever we’re worried about. Pick a shelf, cupboard, or even a room, pop on a playlist, and get organising.
4. Read a couple of pages
Sometimes we need beautiful words as a palate cleanser for difficult times. Pick up a poetry book, a book of essays, or a short story, and read a few pages when you need it. Focusing on short-form writing can take away the overwhelm that can come with longer reads, and makes it easier to dip in and out.
5. Create something
Tapping into our creativity has a wonderful way of reducing stress and lifting our mood. Next time you need a distraction, create something. Try out a new recipe, play an instrument, work on a puzzle, or write a story. This reminds us of our capabilities, and gives us a great confidence boost.
6. Learn something new
Learning something new engages our minds and shifts our perspective, giving us permission to be messy beginners. Why not learn a language, and distract yourself with Duolingo lessons? Or sign up to a learning platform like Skillshare and work through a class? You’ll not only be distracted, but you’ll also be working on your personal development, and, hopefully, finding a whole heap of fulfilment along the way.
7. Play a game
Whether you prefer board games or video games, all forms of gaming offer a sense of escapism and accomplishment that can be positive. Bring out your favourite when you need a break, and allow yourself to be immersed in a new world, even if only for a while.