What is The Distraction Process and How Does it Work?
The Distraction Process is a ‘How To’ guide for tuning in and changing your self-talk and thoughts. It uses distraction as the key method to break the habit loops of negative thought (sub-conscious) to allow a period of concentrated (conscious) thought on something that you have no emotional attachment to. Then to replace that with something that you do want to think about.
The Fours Steps of The Distraction Process
Step 1: Understand the different types of thought.
We have two main types of thought, conscious and sub-conscious thought. Conscious thought, which only makes up around 10-15% of our daily thoughts, come from our conscious mind and are those thoughts we have when we are fully engaged in thinking about something. The sub-conscious thought, which comes from our sub-conscious mind, makes up the vast majority of our thoughts and encompasses all our unconscious actions and thinking.
For example, when you are learning to drive you have to consciously think about every aspect from your position on the road, other road users, when to indicate, when to change gears etc. With repetition we learn to drive and so create a habit loop for this action so it becomes a sub-conscious process, in that you can drive from A to B and not even think about how to drive, unless someone drives out in front of you and forces you to think consciously about how to save yourself.
We create habit loops through repetition of any action, and so have many positive ones such as playing an instrument or sport, activities in work and cooking. Our negative habit loops tend to be thoughts or actions that bring us down or block our own progress.
The positive habit loops are created from our hearts desire or from what feeds our souls to make us feel good.
The negative habit loops are created by our ego minds, which is designed to bring us down. It feeds on our negativity and so when we are feeling low, stressed or anxious it feeds on this and becomes stronger and so we get into a viscous circle of negative thought patterns and beliefs.
Step 2: Tune In to get to know your thoughts
We have approximately 70,000 thoughts per day so you cannot get to know all your thoughts, but because they run in habit loops you can get to know the gist of them, and that is enough to enable you to start and take control.
Tune in by literally stopping yourself and asking yourself what was I thinking there? Our sub-conscious are like background noise, we know they are they but not always fully aware of them. It is like having the radio on the in the background while you are working. You will hear it but not be tuned into it unless a song or article that is interest to you comes on, then you tune in.
Like any exercise the more often you do it the better you become at it. So tune in every hour on the hour if you can by setting an alarm on your phone, for example, and when the alarm sound just stop and ask yourself what you were thinking at that precise moment, not five minutes earlier, but at the moment the alarm went off. Doing this regularly for a few days will help you get to know your thoughts.
Step 3: Distraction
When you tune in and are thinking about something that does not cause you any pain or negativity, then acknowledge it and notice that there are times that you are not feeling anxious or stressed.
When you find you are caught in a negative thought pattern you break this loop by looking at something that means nothing to you and choose to consciously think about that. For example, if you are in the kitchen lift the tin of bens out of the cupboard and force yourself to read the ingredients label, or if you are wearing a patterned jumper or scarf look at the pattern and colours in detail.
By using your conscious mind to think, especially if you do it out loud to yourself, you are breaking the negative habit loops and training them that you control your thoughts. When you distract yourself and choose to think about something else it leads to other thoughts, for example reading the label on the tin of bens may take you on to read the sugar content of other processed foods in your cupboards, or it may start you to clean the cupboard and maybe the whole kitchen. All this gives you longer and longer periods of more positive thought.
It is very difficult to think positively about anything if you are very stressed, anxious or low, and so it is difficult to try and force yourself to think about something good from this state. But you can think about something that means nothing to you and from there you can start to bring in positive thoughts.
Step 4: Replace
In order to create new more positive habit loops you need to know what you want to think about. This might seem obvious, but many of us are so stuck in our routines that we rarely lift our heads to ask what we would really like in our lives. Ask anyone what they want, and the general answer is: ‘Just to be happy’. But when you get into it most don’t even know what would make them happy.
Use the Jar of Life exercise to help you get to know what exactly feeds your soul. The people, places, things, feelings, emotions and situations that you want in your life.
Then choose to consciously think about these on a regular basis. This will create new habit loops of thought, which will become the background noise and so will affect your feelings and physical health in a positive way.
When to use The Distraction Process
Anytime there is a need to break mental habit loops and create new ones to mentally, emotionally or physically improve your situation, you can use The Distraction Process to do this quickly and effectively.
Understanding that you control your thoughts is key, so when you take control and choose what you want to think about, and get into the habit of this, then you create new sub-conscious thought patterns.
Our thoughts affect how we feel, emotionally and physically. Persistent anxious, worried, or stressful thoughts will manifest physically as pain or illness in the body (Neurophysiological Disorders). So, by taking control and changing what we think about can lead to in increase of energy, vitality and health.