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How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions

How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions

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

medium.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Why parents need self-compassion

Parents' frame of mind impacts their children. Parents should not blame themselves when their children struggle.

Since parents lead by example, treating themselves with compassion and without judgment can help their children to do the same.

Make time for mindfulness

Many parents stop meditating once they have children. But new research suggests that even brief interventions can be helpful.

  • Take two breaths of kindness wherever you are.
  • Find moments of newness while engaged in your daily tasks of living.
  • Bring awareness and gratitude to the everyday things you take for granted.

“The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit.”

Bryant McGill

The Role Of Perseverance On Change

Bad habits don’t go away overnight. But, you can use strategies to give you that extra boost of self-confidence and self-control required to change.

Understand that sometimes you will fail and sometimes you’ll succeed. But no matter how long it takes to fail and get back up again, your patience and perseverance will soon pay off.

Creating An “If-Then” Plan

It gives you an automatic response to react to your cravings and makes it easier to replace a bad habit with a good one: 

  • Identify the scenario that usually triggers your bad habit.
  • Specify a different response to the trigger. Ideally, this should be a good habit that would replace and prevent you from falling into the temptation.
  • Combine steps 1 and 2 into an “if-then” format.

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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.

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