Crisis Surival Video Part 2

Part Two: Distract Skills -- Actitivities, Contributing & Comparison

Distracting is a skill that a lot of people already know about because distracting is when you throw your mind off of the problem. In other words, you think about or do something else.  You know people when they say, 'I threw myself into my work'. That's when people are distracting.

I've got seven distract skills I'm going to teach you. The way to remember them is the first letter spells out the word 'Accepts'. Let's start with A.

A means activities.  Now the idea here is to just throw yourself into activities.  You can't do activities that you can do mindlessly.  You know how sometimes you do things and while you're doing them all you're doing is thinking about your problem? This is not a good idea. That's not an activity for distracting. You need a distracting activity; one that will just fill up your whole mind.  What are some examples? 

Reading is a really good activity. It's one of my favorites but you can't do reading if you can't concentrate.  So you could try reading if you can get yourself involved or you've got some great book and you're dying to see how it goes. That's a really good one if you can get involved.  It's always a good thing to keep a few books around that are really involving. That's why I like junk novels. Really serious novels, serious reading - I like to do that sometimes. Well, actually, I mostly do that at work.  But at home I keep spy stories and novels. I keep the kind of stuff you can just really get your mind into.

Or, if you can't concentrate and just reading's out, how about exercise? Now with exercise, you've got to do an exercise that will really get your mind involved.  So the best kind are the kind that are really hard exercises.  Involving exercises. Ones that focus the mind. 

Maybe you're a person who has hobbies. That's what lots of people do. They throw themselves into their hobbies to distract from their problems.  That's always a good idea.  You have any hobbies?

I have friends who throw themselves into cleaning their house.  I really do.  I've got a friend she says, 'Well, whenever I've got troubles I clean my house'.  Now, I do that too.  Sometimes if I just can't solve a problem, especially at work, I start cleaning my desk. You can always tell when I've got lots of problems - my desk is very neat. 

You could go to an event.  You could go to a movie or concert. Open the paper; try to find something to go to.  Movies are good. 

Lots of people distract from their problems by getting together with their friends. Now, the trick here is if you get together with friends to distract, what would you not want to do?  You guessed it.  Don't spend the whole time talking about your problems.

So that's the list.  Now you should add to it.  Think of all the activities that have ever done you some good and add them to the list. You'll probably be able to think up lots of them. The trick is, think up the activities when you're not in a crisis.  It's really hard to think them up in a crisis.  If the crisis is really bad, you want to be able to just open your list, go down it, do the first thing on the list, that doesn't work, go to the second. If that doesn't work, go to the third, just keep right on going.

What do you do if you don't have any activities to fill up your mind? You need... can't think of anything to do or everything seems boring or every time you try to do something all you do is think about your problems anyway.  Move to the next skill.  

The next one starts with C.  C, contributing.  So what's contributing? It's where you distract from pain and suffering by focusing your mind on someone else or something else that you can contribute to, somehow make better. 

The idea here is to distract, that's the good part. And the second good part is you try to distract in a way that will actually make you feel better about yourself.  To make it even better, you try to distract in a way that will actually make the world a little bit better.  So even if you're suffering at least you're doing some good in the world. 

You could do volunteer work. Lots of people do volunteer work as a way to kind of get your mind off themselves - get their minds off their troubles. 

Could do something nice for someone. If you're in the middle of a crisis you could think, 'Well, what would someone else like?  What could I do for them?'  Maybe you could give them a call.  You could call people you haven't talked to in a long time who might be missing you. 
You could do something surprising for someone else.  There are lots of things you can do that are contributing.  You just have to think of something. Think back in your own life, what's something that you do that contributes to other people, makes someone happier that you could do in a crisis. 

If you can think them up, write them down.  Now's the time. Write them down now.

It's really important to remember that contributions don't have to be big.  The facts of the matter are, in the middle of crisis when you are just trying to survive, you're probably not going to do something really big.  That's probably not the time.  So, what you want to do is try to think up small things you can do.

For example, there's a grocery store two blocks from my house.  I go there, I don't know, a couple of times a week.  So, I always think to myself whenever things really get me down, I'm really in trouble, having a bad day.  I say, 'Alright Marsha. All you have to do to make this day worthwhile is walk down to the grocery store. Get in line. And smile at the checkout lady.'  I figure they have really difficult days.  Have you ever noticed how rude people can be to check out people in grocery stores?  So, you can just make the whole world better by going down and smiling.  That's what I do. 

Now, you may be one of those persons who, when you get in a crisis and then you think of contributing, you start thinking, 'Oh, it isn't going to make a difference.  It's really not worthwhile. It's not my time.' In a crisis sometimes we start putting ourselves down thinking we're worthless, thinking that whatever we have to do doesn't contribute.  So, this is my advice. Stop that. That's not effective. Go ahead and do it.  Even if you don't think it's going to help, try it anyway. 

Well, what if you've already tried it. You either tried it and it didn't work or you decided 'I'm not doing it. I'm the one in trouble. I'm not giving something to someone else.  I need someone to give something to me.'  Ok. Give it up.  You're not going to contribute.  Let's go to the next one.  

The next letter in 'Accepts' is C again, but this time it's C for comparisons.  When you're trying to distract by using comparisons, what you're trying to do is trying to compare your current situation or the current crisis to a situation that's worse than the one you're in now. 

So for example you could compare yourself to people who have less than you have.  Or you could compare yourself to people who maybe have the same thing you have but they have a lot harder time coping with it.  Or, you could look at your own life and you could think about times in your life when things have been a lot harder or you didn't have the same resources you have now.

The whole idea is to try to feel better by comparing yourself to a time when you could feel worse.  In other words you're trying to get yourself to sort of say in your mind, 'Could be worse'.

So how does this work? Well when it does work it's probably generating a sense of gratitude or a sense of feeling lucky or even a sense of relief. So, that's when it works.  It works. You feel relieved.  You feel better about yourself. Feel a little more competent.  Maybe you're not quite as incompetent as you thought.

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