Being easily distracted can be a bad habit and also a barrier to change. But we can also use distraction as a way to break bad habits or ingrained behaviours. The trick is being more intentional about when, why, and how you choose to distract yourself.
Distraction is when we allow an unplanned intrusion or diversion to pull us off focus or task. Redirection is when we consciously choose to redirect our attention.
Distraction (unintentional) can cause harm in two ways 1) keep us from doing what we need to be doing and 2) may cause us to engage in behaviors or activities that aren’t serving us.
Redirection (intentional) is 1) making a conscious decision that you would benefit from refocusing you attention on something else, and 2) choosing the alternative focus/activity thoughtfully
Intentionality is the key.
Next time you find yourself in the grips of an unhelpful thought or emotion (such as anxiety, worry, stage-fright) try the mental flashlight technique:
Step 1 - use your other senses (not your monkey mind) to identify (or shine your mental flashlight) on something you see, hear, smell, or generally are “aware of.” Step 2 - Simply say the words (out loud or in your head) “I am aware of ____” without attachment or judgement. Just simply be aware. Step 3 - Repeat: Become aware of something else around you (not inside you). Use as many different senses as you can to list all the things you are aware of.