Create yourself a distraction plan. This can be coupled with any of the other plans or you can leave it as a separate plan, whatever works for you. Write it down or put it where you know you can get to it as needed.
If anything that helps you distract requires tools or toys, then do your best to have them at the ready or with you for when you might need it. It is always better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.
What are some things you can do to distract yourself when feeling overwhelmed? Do you like to fidget? Do you like to do word puzzles? Do you like to play video games or games on your mobile device? Do you like to watch cartoons or puppy videos? Do you like to colour or draw? Do you like to tinker with something?
List as many ideas as you can that can help distract you when feeling overwhelmed or in distress
Remember that this distraction is to help you regulate yourself enough to handle the situation, it not meant to replace or remove the situation itself.
Distraction by Thoughts
– Look outside at the natural world around you
– Observe the flowers, trees, skin, and landscape
– Observe the city sounds, what can you see? What can you hear?
– Imagine the wildest fantasy coming true. What would it be? Who would be involved? What would you do?
– Leave the situation mentally (if unable to leave physically)
– Imagine a wall between yourself and the situation
– Box the discomfort in an imaginary box and put it on shelf for now
Distraction by Leaving (the Situation)
Distraction by Tasks and Chores
– Go for a walk
– Read a book, a magazine, comics
– Do a crossword, word search, or work on a puzzle
– Clean up the office
– Clean out the closets
– Clean out the cupboards
– Clean something, dust, mop or vacuum
Distraction by Counting
– Count your breaths
– Count items in the room or space you’re currently in, for example, count the amount of furniture that is currently in the room
– On the bus – count how many people are using their cellphones, or how many people are wearing blue jeans or who are wearing black shoes, or count how many red cars that pass the bus, count how many white houses you pass… etc. It doesn’t really matter what you count, just count something.
– Count to 100 in increments of 2, 4, or 5
– Subtract from 100 in increments of 2 or 5
– Count anything
Distraction by Contributing
– Find volunteer work to do
– Make something nice for someone else
– Surprise someone with something nice (a card, a favour, etc.)
Distraction by Changing the Emotion
– Listen to emotional music
– Watch funny pet videos or “fail” videos
– Watch a funny movie, or a musical, or a drama
Add any of your own distraction ideas that you can think of or that would help you.
Use any and all of the ideas to help you. And remember to practice, practice, practice until you are able to manage what is going on.