Tag Archives: distraction

Video: A Great Strategy To Fight Temptations? Distraction.

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the various strategies that we can use for habit-formation.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative.

My forthcoming book, Better Than Before, describes the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits. To pre-order, click here. (Pre-orders give a real boost to a book, so if you’re inclined to buy the book, I’d really appreciate it if you pre-order it.)

Today, I’m talking about the Strategy of Distraction.

 

Whenever I’m tempted to break a good habit (or indulge in a bad habit, two sides of the same coin), I say to myself, “I can leave my desk—in fifteen minutes.” The delay of fifteen minutes is often long enough for me to get absorbed in something else. If I distract myself sufficiently, I may forget about a craving entirely.

When we distract ourselves, we purposefully redirect our thoughts, and by doing so, we change our experience.

Of course, it’s not enough to be distracted; we must distract ourselves in the right way. Checking Pinterest isn’t a good distraction for the person who wants to break the habit of late-night online shopping; reading a mystery would work better.

Also, making a purely mental shift can be difficult, so distraction works best when it involves some physical activity: walking around the block, woodworking, or cleaning out the kitty-litter box. Of course, if it’s an enjoyable distraction, such as playing catch with a child, so much the better.

Using the Strategy of Distraction doesn’t mean trying to suppress an unwelcome thought, but rather deliberately shifting attention. When we try to squash a particular thought, we may trigger the “ironic rebound,” so that paradoxically, we think about it all the more.

Although people often assume that cravings intensify over time, research shows that with active distraction, urges—even strong urges—usually subside within about fifteen minutes.

On a different subject, in the video, I mention that readers can request free, signed, personalized bookplates to put in their books. If you’d like to email me your request, for you or for gifts, click here. U.S. and Canada only — sorry about that.

Do you use the Strategy of Distraction to help you master your habits?

Pigeon of Discontent: “I Get Distracted When I Work From Home.”

Each week, I post a video about some Pigeon of Discontent raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by those small but pesky Pigeons of Discontent.

This week’s Pigeon of Discontent, suggested by a reader, is: “I get distracted when I work from home.

 

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…

Problem with procrastination? Try this: Do nothing.

7 tips for avoiding procrastination: Without delay is the easiest way.

Have you found any good strategies for getting work done at home–or for fighting distractions, generally? It’s hard, and it seems as though it’s getting harder all the time.

You can post your own Pigeon of Discontent at any time; also, from time to time, I’ll make a special call for suggestions.

You can check out the archives of videos here. It’s crazy–my YouTube channel has passed the mark for one million viewers.

Pigeon of Discontent: “It’s Hard For Me To Think Positively.”

Each week, I post a video about some Pigeon of Discontent raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by those small but pesky Pigeons of Discontent.

This week’s Pigeon of Discontent, suggested by a reader, is: “It’s hard for me to think positively.”

What about you? Do you have strategies to help yourself stop a cycle of rumination?

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…

Do you fall into the trap of overthinking?

13 tips for dealing with a really lousy day.

You can post your own Pigeon of Discontent at any time; also, from time to time, I’ll make a special call for suggestions.

You can check out the archives of videos here.

  • The book give-away continues. If you’d like to win a free copy of Happier at Home, I’m giving away one book each day until publication.Enter your name and email in the sign-up form here, and every day, a name will be picked at random. U.S.Canada, and U.K. only–sorry about that restriction on the give-away.

    If you’re wondering about the book, you can learn more about it here or…

    –-read a sample chapter on the subject of “time” here

    watch the new one-minute book trailer on “Ten ways to be happier at home”

    pre-order the book here (buy early and often!)

Force Yourself To Wander.

2011 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2011 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year — and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — welcome! This month’s theme is Creativity, and last week’s resolution was to Do something every day. Did you try that resolution? Did it boost your happiness?

This week’s resolution is to Force yourself to wander. (Please excuse the slightly wild look in my eye in the thumbnail below.)

Force yourself to wander MP3 for Audio Podcasting

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…
Why I “force myself to wander,” and what I found off the beaten track.
A paradox of happiness: we seek to control our lives, but novelty makes us happy.
If you want more or less of something in your life, measure it.

How about you? What strategies do you use to force yourself to wander, to make sure that you expose yourself to new ideas and new impressions?

If you’re new, here’s information on the 2011 Happiness Challenge. It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For the Challenge, each week I’ll post a video suggesting a resolution for you to consider. For more ideas for resolutions to try, check out the archives of videos here.

* A thoughtful reader sent me this link — and I was thrilled to hear that The Happiness Project had inspired the well-known designer Carolyne Roehm (!) to de-clutter. I got a big kick out of learning that even someone with a deep love of beautiful things like Carolyne Roehm (or maybe especially like Carolyne Roehm) enjoys an empty shelf.

* Sign up for the Moment of Happiness, and every weekday morning, you’ll get a happiness quotation in your email inbox (free, of course). Sign up here or email me at gretchenrubin1 at gmail dot com.