Changing your perspective: the power of distractions

Sometimes all you need is an actual new perspective to change your thinking.

Feeling off

I’ve had two weeks in which I just felt off. Every couple of hours, my mood would shift from outgoing to wanting to curl up in bed. From being active and having a sore face from laughing, to feeling drained and emotional. And frankly after two weeks my patience was wearing thin.

After all, I had no reason to feel like this. I was doing all these amazing things and was making the trip of my dreams for crying out loud.

Yup, I was quite critical of myself. And eventually I decided to write it all down.

Unsurprisingly this resulted in an angry and frustrated piece of writing. Now what was I supposed to do with this?

Changing your perspective

There was just one thing, I didn’t have a bed. I was on a train, a train ride of twenty-four hours to be precise. So instead of a bed, I had to make do with a sleeping chair.

That’s when I discovered that I could, more or less, fit myself in two chairs to lay down. And suddenly the world looked different. The simple fact of seeing the world from a different angle, acted as a lightbulb moment.

I could choose to change how I felt about those ten days. I got stuck focusing on the negative, in judging myself, but this only made me feel more unhappy.

I could also turn it around. Even though my brain was tired, I did some really cool things. In other words, I suddenly realized the power of distractions. And that I could choose to focus on the positives.

Maybe I’d even go as far to say that my brain injury helps. As it doesn’t take much to distract me.

Distractions and a brain injury

Staying focused has become a much harder task nowadays. The ability of my brain, to filter out the unimportant, has been damaged. Every sound, movement or even a stray thought can break my concentration.

Staying focused on whatever tasks you’re doing has become a lot harder. So much so, that I need a break after forty-five minutes. Because when you get distracted you A, have to realize that your distracted and B, try to get back into whatever you were doing. Which of course all requires precious energy.

Really frustrating if you have to work, study or accomplish another important task. But maybe very helpful when you’re not so happy with yourself.

As one thing was for sure, I got distracted a lot and in this case, that meant getting distracted from that critical voice in my head.
After waking up and realising that I still didn’t feel like myself, I started to criticise myself. But as soon as I got talking to people over breakfast or opened my social media, I got distracted.

A blessing in disguise

Of course, I would like to go along on a hike, or go out for tea, or take funny pictures. I’d simply forgot that I felt off and wasn’t too pleased with myself. I haven’t laughed that much in a long while as I did in those days. Sure, I would be really tired at the end of the day, but still.

I can choose to focus on the things that don’t go well. To keep holding on to those insecurities over my abilities. What did I do wrong? Why can’t I feel better?

Or I can choose to just accept the status quo. But to divert my attention to all the good things that happened. Maybe I can, and should, use the power of distractions more often.

Realising this felt like a burden had been lifted. I could tell myself a more positive story about those ten days. I had turned my disability in an advantage!

Because I get so easily distracted, I was able to do (and enjoy) really cool things! Suddenly I was feeling a lot more happier with myself.

I still don’t know why I felt the way I did. What caused it all. But I do know that I need to pay more attention to the story I tell myself. That I can choose to focus on the positives.

Have you found ways in which you could turn a disability into an adventage? What do you do when you’re feeling off?

2 Replies to “Changing your perspective: the power of distractions”

  1. Thanks for this post, I’ve found myself in that sad place this week. I just can’t shake it off, I feel weary of being me, this dysfunctional me, limited, foggy minded and so much slower.
    I woke again today, there it is again, that feeling of being ‘off’. I know if I distract myself, it isn’t as obvious, the feelings seem to subside as I am focused on something else.
    It takes me 2 hours to actually properly wake up and function in the morning now, I used to be straight up and on with the day, since the brain surgery it’s so slow, to wake my brain, for my speech to be clearer and be able to process simple tasks. Yet I have this desire to do so many things, I suppose they are distractions to keep me from that place of dissatisfaction.
    I agree about changing perspective, give yourself a distraction to help. Today I went in the garden and focused on tidying and weeding, the fresh air did me good, as did the quiet and the feeling of achievement.
    Thanks Joanne

    1. Thank you for your quick response! I’m sorry to see that you’ve been having a difficult time as well. It’s particular hard if you’re feeling dissatisfied with yourself, I think. And I can imagine that those two hours in the morning feel like a lifetime.

      But good on you for going outside and doing some gardening!! And choosing to look for those distractions. I wish you all the best and hope that these feelings will pass. I’ll be sending you some positive vibes this week. 💙

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