There is a woman I know who is waiting for the results of a tissue biopsy. She will know what they are on Tuesday. One can only imagine the stress and anguish this long week-end of waiting brings. Yes, and she is no doubt anticipating the results and what they might be and what each outcome might bring in terms of life itself. This is one among many such waiting-scenarios happening all around the world. No amount of rational thinking, or even just-sitting, can ease the stress completely. Kind and understanding friends can support and sympathise however that waiting time is at heart a private time when one draws on inner resources, best one can.
Sometimes the best one can do is engage in some well-aimed distractions. Go for a walk. Watch a DVD. Take a long bath. Bake! Play a game with the children. Read a novel. I’d say this is skillful action which purposefully redirects the mind away from one thing, worry and fear, and into some other activity. You could call it skillful forgetting. There is, just for a short time, slight respite. However nobody is fooled, we all know such distractions are temporary and engaged in to relieve a specific set of circumstances. Even in the midst of distractions inner resources such as forbearance, patience and resilience are still present.
So I hope anybody who is in a waiting and wondering place, and I know of several others, will take heart and listen to an audio book or do whatever it is that helps the anxious mind settle. I term this as well-aimed distraction or better purposeful distraction. Mindless distraction is when you don’t know you’re distracted!
Merit for those who wait and especially for those who see no end to it.
One thought on “Well Aimed Distraction”
“Purposeful distraction” reminds me of William James’ “functional repression.”