Advertising
Advertising

Vulnerable to Distraction? The Truth Is You Actively Seek It Out

Vulnerable to Distraction? The Truth Is You Actively Seek It Out

In a world of cell phones, Facebook, and an entire Internet’s worth of cat videos, it’s difficult to keep yourself from getting distracted.

If only we could rid ourselves of all these distractions in our lives! Surely we would be much more productive if we weren’t always just one click away from all the world’s gathered information. But what if it’s not the Internet’s (or any outside source for that matter) fault? What if it’s actually us who actively seek out our own distractions? Well, according to science, distracting ourselves and procrastinating has always been a part of human nature.

Distractions are addictive

We know that distractions are bad for us, and we want to be able to stay productive with the tasks at hand. Why on earth would we actively try to distract ourselves? Because it feels good, that’s why.

Advertising

Whenever we distract ourselves, be it through watching that hilarious new cat video, or filling out that useless, but oh-so-entertaining personality quiz, our brains release a dose of dopamine. Dopamine is called “the body’s feel good chemical”. Unfortunately for us, dopamine happens to be highly addictive, making us want to come back for more.

That’s why we tend to be so inclined to distract ourselves; we’re literally addicted to it. Every time we procrastinate, we experience a tiny dopamine “high”, making us feel slightly better from the distraction than we would from the daunting task we’re escaping from.

And the stress and anxiety we often experience as we return to work after a bout of procrastination doesn’t exactly help in our brains’ conviction that distraction = good, work = bad.

Advertising

Why we love distractions

But why does it feel so good to distract ourselves? Why would our brains be so eager to reward us for scrolling through our Facebook timeline?

The simple answer: fear.

Studies have found that whenever our brains experience a sensation of anxiety, stress, or panic (such as from an overwhelming task, or too much work to be done), our bodies interpret these signals to mean impending danger, and triggers a slight fear response.

Advertising

Although our fear instinct evolved to help us survive in the past, we still have the same reactions to fear today. The typical person attempts to do everything in their power to avoid it. So if we experience a mild fear when confronted with work, our natural reaction is to distract ourselves from it, thereby removing the fear from our lives.

So whenever we’re pressured to get to work, we gladly accept any distraction that comes our way. Because even a temporary refuge of “safety” feels better than tackling the fear head on.

Becoming less vulnerable to distraction

Of course, just because it’s in your nature to distract yourself doesn’t mean you can’t beat it. There are, in fact, many ways to improve your odds of defeating those annoying distractions. And while everyone is affected to different degrees by procrastination, there are some sure-fire ways to help just about anyone get through it.

Advertising

For instance, simply admitting to yourself that your tendency for distractions is based on fear has been shown to greatly reduce procrastination. This is because simply knowing what is at the root of your distractions, you become much better at fighting them. Similarly, taking steps to reduce the stressful emotions, and by extension, your fear, associated with work has been show to work equally well.

Of course simpler solutions, such as removing any distractions in the first place (blocking your internet access, throwing your phone in a river, etc.) can greatly help your chances as well. Although this requires you to have the discipline to actually carry out these actions in the first place!

But whether your distractions come in the form of mindless internet browsing or long-winded phone calls, the fact remains that you are most likely the one to blame for seeking out your own distractions in the first place.

Featured photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg via flickr.com

More by this author

Vulnerable to Distraction? The Truth Is You Actively Seek It Out 11 Things Only People Living In Temperate Zones Understand

Trending in Productivity

1 7 Things to Remember When You’re Going Through Tough Times in Life 2 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier 3 Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony 4 The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity? 5 How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 24, 2019

7 Things to Remember When You’re Going Through Tough Times in Life

7 Things to Remember When You’re Going Through Tough Times in Life

Sometimes, you will go through really tough times. It’s those times when everything you do just kind of flops, and it feels like your life is going downhill, which makes you feel very sad.

In these challenging situations, maintaining a good mindset is probably the most important thing you can do. It will allow you to stay upbeat, avoid pointless sorrow, persist through the hardship, find smart solutions and eventually turn the situation around.

I believe that there are 7 key ideas to keep in mind when the going gets tough, in order to stay positive and be resilient.

People frequently forget these ideas. Their thinking becomes overly pessimistic and gloomy. But if you bear these ideas in mind, they will do wonders for your emotional state and your capacity to overcome the challenge you’re facing.

1. Even Bad Times End

Everything ends. Whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t last forever. When a situation is troubling for you, it may seem as if it will never end. But that’s just a subjective and distorted perception. Our minds tend to expand negative events as they happen and so it appears like they’ve been going on for a lot more than they really did, and as if they will continue to go on for a long time.

Advertising

Nevertheless, even the worst kinds of situations end at some point. Sometimes you need to do something to make them end or hurry that moment. Other times, they will simply wither and die on their own, and all you can do is have patience and wait. Either way, things will change.

2. You’ve Overcome Challenges Before

Another way to address the feeling that a bad situation will never end is by thinking about similar situations that you went through in the past and you’ve successfully overcome. You can find a precedent nearly every time if you think hard enough.

When you do this, it acts as a reminder of your ability to handle challenges and get passed them. It boosts your sense of self-confidence and it eliminates the sense of helplessness. This attitude shift is most likely to motivate you to take action and get you to successfully rise above the situation.

3. You Have Lots of Strengths as a Person

When the going gets tough, it’s common for us to stop seeing our strengths and only be aware of our flaws. Thus, we see ourselves as losers, incapable to rise above difficult situations. But this is never true. Just like any other person out there, you have a combination of strengths and weaknesses.

The key is to remind yourself that you have lots of strengths. Perhaps start thinking about some of them in particular, and do a quick mental check of some of your strengths. By doing this, your perception of yourself will shift and become more balanced. Again, this will empower you and give you confidence that you’ll handle the situation you’re in effectively.

Advertising

4. It Happens to Everybody

Frequently when facing hardship, our thinking will trick us into believing that this happens only to us. Other people don’t go through the kind of difficulties we go through. It almost seems like the universe is plotting against us and wants to hurt us.

However, with a bit of lucid reflecting, you’ll quickly realize this is not true. What’s true is that you’re hyper-aware of your troubles because they’re, you know, yours. But you’re not nearly as aware of other people’s trouble, which makes it seem like they have it much better than you. This is highly unlikely though. So remember that whatever happens to you, in the same form or a related one, happens to almost everybody.

5. It’s a Learning Experience

It is often said in the personal development world that there is no failure, only feedback. When going through tough times in life though, we tend to forget this. We see failure as an indicator that we’re not on the right path, but not as a learning experience which can put us on the right path.

Most learning in life comes from trial and error. And when things aren’t going the way you want them to go, the best thing you can do is to try to understand why this is happening, and learn from the experience. It is by learning and applying that learning that you’ll eventually turn things around.

6. You Can Always Ask for Help

When facing hard times, it’s a good idea to remember that there are people in your life that you can rely on for help. Even if you’re not the most social person in the world and you don’t have a lot of friends or a big family, there are still people in your life that you can rely on.

Advertising

These people form your social support system. Many times, just thinking about them and realizing that they are there for you in case you need them provides you a lot of emotional comfort and it gives you more courage to push forward.

You may not even need to actually ask them for help. Just knowing it’s available will embolden you and that will be sufficient.

If you don’t know how to ask for help, here’re some tips for you: How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most

7. There Are a Lot of Things to Be Grateful For

So some things aren’t going well in your life. That’s less than ideal, but if you think about it, there are still lots of things that are going well in your life and there is still a lot to be grateful for.

Maybe your romantic relationship is in trouble, but you have a great career. Maybe your career is in trouble, but you still have your health and your family. And there are so many small but significant things to be grateful for: a walk in the park, a cup of coffee, a nice sunset, a casual conversation.

Advertising

When going through tough times in life think about this for a second and start noticing the things to be grateful for. It will completely change your perspective. You’ll realize things aren’t that bad after all, and that, troubles and all, life is worth appreciating.

Need a little reminder what to be thankful for? This article is for you: 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

The Bottom Line

Write these 7 ideas on a small piece of paper and carry it with you all the time, in a pocket or in your wallet. And whenever you’re confronted with a tough situation, take out the piece of paper and mindfully read to yourself at least once all 7 reminders on it.

You’ll notice that your mindset will begin to shift, you’ll become more positive and you’ll feel better. And once you’re in the right mindset and the right emotional state, it won’t take long before you’ll figure a way to overcome the tough situation you’re in.

It all starts with the mindset. Good luck!

More Articles to Help You Get Through Tough Times

Featured photo credit: Dimitar Belchev via unsplash.com

Read Next