Distractions can really be detrimental to our happiness. They come in many forms be it people, worries, “opportunities,” projects, doubts, hobbies and even things that we might think are signs pointing us in the right direction.
A distraction is defined as something that prevents you from from giving full attention to something else; an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
This definition lets us know that a distraction is tied to emotion and thus it affects our mood, happiness and over-all well being. It’s important that we learn how to combat them and to understand when we are being mislead by something or someone.
Remember that when you are on the right path in life, things typically will flow pretty smoothly and naturally. When you are following the plan God has laid out for you it will be filled with feelings of fulfillment and peace. However, it is also at this time that the devil does his best to sidetrack us.
This has been a constant struggle for me in my sobriety and in my spiritual journey. My distraction for sobriety has always been “the voice.” That tiny voice in our heads that tells us to go to the bar, have a drink, get drunk, it’s happy hour, had a bad day, just have one drink…blah blah blah. That very voice was the only thing keeping me from the person I was truly meant to be.
At the time, it had a grip on me. And it desperately waned to keep it that way. So, every time I’d give in to it, up would go another mark on the chalkboard in its favor. Perpetually keeping me from my real potential. What I had to learn was how to tell it NO.
The book Rational Recovery taught me how to recognize this voice when it was in action and to tell it NO out loud at times when it was loudest towards me. This was one tool of sobriety that made such a difference for me and has carried over into other areas in my life where habits get formed and need to be broken.
I’m realizing now, even after I’ve been victorious against the voice in my recovery, there are new voices I have to get better at saying NO to as well.
We all have them.
“I’m not good enough”
“There isn’t enough time”
“I’m too old”
“I’m not qualified”
“I wonder what so-and-so would think”
“Social media, social media, social media”
“Will my crush call or text”
“Why doesn’t my significant other do this for me?”
“I need to be a better parent.”
“This is going to be the next big thing, I better find a way to get involved.”
“I need to make more money”
“I want to have more things”
“I will never forgive them”
Anything look familiar? This is what the voice of distraction sounds like. Often these voices in our minds can lead us into actions that take us off course and further away from what we are predestined for. It is imperative to have distraction defenses as we live in a world that literally never sleeps.
When you feel you have veered off on the wrong path or you are being pulling in too many directions, there are some simple practices you can implement that will allow you to re-center and get back on track.
4 Practices To Fight Distractions & Help You Stay Focused
1) Decide if what you are doing is really making you happy.
Whether it is a relationship, a job or torturing yourself to fit into something you are not, take a really close look at where you are and get very honest with yourself if that particular thing or person is truly lighting you up. If it’s not, beware of the distraction it is causing to your happiness and make the decision to work on changing it.
If something is not brining us happiness, WHY in the world do we continue on with it?! Trust me, I’m guilty as can be for this, but now that I’ve wised up, this is how I look at every aspect of my life. Ask yourself if what you are spending a good majority of your time on is REALLY making you happy. This is applicable to something you are thinking about constantly as well. Are these thoughts really leading you down the road of happiness? Therein lies the answer.
2) Refocus, quickly.
This is huge for me, especially with my writing. It’s important for me to continue doing this because it brings me joy and it helps me process through everything I’ve learned in my quest for personal development and life change.
As much as I love to write, I can easily get distracted with the silliest things. I will catch myself shopping online or worrying about something, which takes me away from my hustle and grind. When I catch myself becoming out-of-focus, I immediately force myself to stop and write. That’s my way of saying NO to the distractions.
Practice this in your own lives when you catch yourself being bothered with things that are not moving you forward. Tell them no and immediately stop, readjust and refocus. When you are able to speed up your reaction time to a distraction not only do you get good at recognizing them, but you are also less likely to continue to allow them to occur for as long as you may have in the past.
The minute I realize something is affecting me whether it’s a tough decision or an issue that I continue to grapple with, I turn to God and pray for discernment, direction and protection.
Most of the time when when we are feeling distracted or worse, being distracted, it is the devil trying to deceive us. He is the ultimate deception creator and can throw anyone for a loop very easily, especially those who do not have good prayer life.
When we feel like we are being pulled in several different directions and we are not sure which way to go, we need to stop, drop and pray. Easily my favorite defense mechanism of all time, not just for distractions, but for everything life throws my way. Vocalize to God what is bothering you or blocking your way and ask him to help lead you through it. Your answer will come.
4) Just Say No
As you may be able to tell, this practice of saying NO is something I keep brining up. It can literally transform your life when you learn how to use NO more often.
Being able to walk away from things when you know they are not a fit for your happiness is one of the most important pieces of knowledge I’ve acquired.
I can’t tell you how many times I say no to people and things. After much practice, I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing upfront if it is a yes or no.
The bottom line is this: If it makes me feel good in a healthy, natural way – I say yes. Anything outside of this gets a NO.
It sounds black and white and that is because it is and it has to be, for me at least. We waste a lot of time saying yes to things we should be saying no to and the funny part is most of the time we knew the answer the whole time!
Practice following your initial feelings about situations and people. The more you tune in and the more you practice saying no when you feel it doesn’t motivate you to be greater, the better you will get at it and ultimately the better off you will be.
Distractions are setbacks. They are the roadblocks of life. If you want to bulldoze through them and reach your true potential, you have to train your mind to be a heavy piece of machinery, built to breakdown distractions and plow right over them.
Save your YES’s for only what makes you come ALIVE!
As always, Miracles Are Brewing…