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How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions

https://medium.com/better-humans/how-to-disarm-internal-triggers-of-distractions-eaac1508411f

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How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions
A common problem I have while writing is the urge to google something. It's easy to justify this bad habit as "doing research," but deep down I know it's often just a diversion from difficult work. Bricker advises focusing on the internal trigger that precedes the unwanted behavior, like "feeling anxious, having a craving, feeling restless, or thinking you are incompetent."

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Dealing with intrusive thoughts

Dealing with intrusive thoughts
While we can’t control the feelings and thoughts that pop into our heads, we can control what we do with them.

But we don't have to fight them, we just have to find better methods to handle them.

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The internal trigger

The internal trigger

Look for the discomfort that comes before the distraction.

Focus on the internal trigger that precedes the unwanted behavior, like feeling anxious, having a craving, feeling restless, or thinking you are incompetent.

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Write down the trigger

Write down the trigger

Write down the trigger, the time of day, what you were doing, and how you felt when you noticed the internal trigger that led to the distracting behavior.

The better we are at noticing the behavior, the better we’ll be at managing it over time.

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Explore your sensations

Explore your sensations

Get curious about the sensations you're feeling (fingers that twitch, butterflies in your stomach etc). And stay with the feeling before acting on the impulse.

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Beware of liminal moments

Beware of liminal moments

These are the transitions from one thing to another throughout our days (like picking up your phone while waiting for a traffic light then finding yourself still looking at your phone while driving).

What’s dangerous is that by doing them “for just a second,” you’re likely to do things you'll later regret.

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The 'ten-minute rule'

The 'ten-minute rule'

If you find yourself wanting to check your phone when you can’t think of anything better to do, tell yourself it’s fine to give in, but not right now: you have to wait just ten minutes.

It helps you deal with all sorts of potential distractions, like googling something rather than working or eating something unhealthy when you're bored.

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Building habits

The basic process for building all habits is basically the same: you repeatedly condition the behavior you want, over time, until it becomes automatic.

But no habit starts out auto...

Conditioning a habit

2 main ways you can condition a habit:
  • Classical conditioning: a paired association with a trigger and a behavior. Going to the gym after you wake up each morning is this kind of habit.
  • Operant conditioning: you not only associate a trigger with a behavior, but you reward that pairing, to accelerate the habit-forming process.

The 30-Day Trial

You commit to some change for 30 days, then tou can go back to your old ways. But having spent thirty days applying a new behavior is often enough to convince you to stick with it.

Pros:

  • Can handle more significant/difficult behavior changes you might be unlikely to start with a perpetual commitment.
  • Fosters an experimental mindset, rather than assuming you already know what’s best.

Cons:

  • 30 days probably isn’t enough to actually make something a habit.
  • Without a long-term plan, many 30-day trials will revert back to the original behavior.

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Mindfulness

It involves paying attention to something while letting go of judgments and assumptions. Don’t try to change it. Instead, be open to the experience, regardless of whether you like or...

Knowing what triggers your anger

Usually we don’t even realize we’re angry until furniture is being broken. But if you know the circumstances that trigger your anger, you can avoid them or prepare yourself.

Emotions are made up of 3 components:

  • physical (the way your body responds when you experience an emotion),.
  • cognitive (the thoughts that go along with the emotion).
  • behavioral (the things you do or have urges to do when you experience an emotion). 

Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.

Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.