This Is Why Your Brain Needs A Diversion Right Now

This Is Why Your Brain Needs A Diversion Right Now

Life can be intense, no? In addition to our “normal” lives, often filled with hectic schedules and stress, the “outer” world seems to go from one chaos to the next, with no break in between.

I mean, finally we get through the election season, which was unrelenting bombardment, and we think it’s over only to find that’s still all the news. Even when pledging to take a mental break from it, we’re faced with much more insanity. It’s still not safe to go in those waters.

We have a build up to Halloween, followed the next day by Christmas stuff in stores. Thanksgiving gets all the press for a precious few minutes, and then here come all the Christmas ads.

The buying season is in full swing.

So are plans for holidays, family, travel.

Yikes! When do we breathe?

Because so often all of those things are filled with problems to sort out, or even just plans that need piecing together, and often we’re focused on what to do about x, y, and z—so much so that what we actually want to have happen gets lost in the mix.

Have you ever noticed that the more you get caught up in the chaos, the more chaos comes bounding in?

There is both a psychological and spiritual reason for this. In a nutshell, what we think about expands. So when we’re focused on problems, issues (whether personal or political), stress—all those negative things—what we get about is more of the same.

“But I have to work out x, y, or z now!” our monkey minds scream.

And boy, can that scream seem as unrelenting as politics these days.

Ideas, though, can’t bubble up when we’re in the frenzy.

As Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.”

In other words, we have to get out of those small ego-centered minds, and look at things from a different perspective.

To resolve an issue we need to give our brains a break. This is where mental diversions come in.

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But how to do this? That’s the tricky part, and the key to, well, just about everything.

I’m a big proponent of the teachings of Abraham’s Law of Attraction. As Abraham explains, we run into problems when we think about what’s not working, more than what we want to happen. The longer the issue has been with you, the more you need to get out from under it—if only for a time—and focus on something entirely different.

This is not so different from what Jesus meant when he said to repent. We think of that word in its English meaning—to confess what miserable sinners we are. But in the original Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), the idiom meant: to turn a different direction. To focus on another way.

Which is, after all, the true meaning of making amends. The words mean nothing. The behavior change, everything.

A study this year by Pine and Fletcher, published in White Paper Number 2, “Do Something Different,” found that changing behavior, by doing something different, brings about significant changes in levels of anxiety and depression.

Isn’t it amazing how what is spiritually true is also psychologically true, and vice versa? Always tweaks me.

I took up a major diversion around Labor Day of this year. The whole political thing was getting to me, and (unbeknownst to me), my subconscious decided it was time to take a different road. I didn’t really know why this materialized when it did, at least then. At the time, I just followed along. Because my gut said to, and I’m big on following its lead these days.

As I’ve mentioned before, I plunged headlong back in love with an old character from my past, in the Western TV series, Lancer. I watch an episode a night! Still. It takes me away, back into a former time, and all the troubles of this world disappear.

Why we need mental breaks

Perhaps it’s because (yes, I analyze everything to death :), it’s set in a simpler time. One without Twitter, to say the very least. Or maybe it’s because they lived by an honest code, and said what they meant, acted from the heart, and did the right thing.

Doesn’t that sound archaic. But, ah, heaven!

The thing is, however, it saved me through this political season. And from life’s daily stressors.

Funny thing, when I return to the actual issues of the day, which of course I do as do we all, each and every day, I see them differently. I approach them differently. And solutions come that I never would have pieced out from that old monkey mind.

Now you might not have the luxury of watching an episode of Lancer every night (pity!), although it’s only 50 minutes J But you do have the luxury, nah, the necessity of getting out from under the stressors of the day.

You owe it to yourself, and to your world.

So, what do you do to turn a different direction?

About the Author Susan Malone

Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.

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60 comments
Colleen M. Story says December 7, 2016

Love the idea of de-stressing by turning to a simpler time, Susan. My fav old reruns include the original MacGyver! Cheesy but simple and always enjoyed the science of it. Plus like you say there is something to giving yourself 45 minutes of safe, relaxing fun. For me it’s a just-before-bed-while-doing-yoga treat! :O)

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    Susan Malone says December 7, 2016

    Oh, I loved the old MacGyver too, Colleen! And isn’t it fun to just go back to something both safe and relaxing 🙂

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Divya says December 7, 2016

So true. Just read a study that talked about how there are so many benefits to just being “bored.” We allow our brain to take over and be creative. Nowadays, we have no idle time and its’ actually a detriment to us!

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Reba Linker says December 7, 2016

Great post, Susan. I tune out as much of the ‘noise’ as I can, and then I also try to turn off some of the inner noise as well, through meditation, and going within. So important to turn off the chatter and get back to the ‘ahhhh!’

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Lori English says December 7, 2016

Susan,
Thanks for the great article that you wrote.It made me thinking of taking a vacation and having time off after the holiday. Solutions are important and not to get stuck in the problem. Thank You.
Lori English

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Beverley Golden says December 7, 2016

Although I truly believe that what we focus on expands, I sometimes am amazed at how I am going along anticipating all is moving well in a forward direction and bang…I am stopped in my track with yet another unforeseen challenge to work out. I wonder what that says about what I am attracting. 🙂 Recently I said ‘yes’ to a 7-week 3-day-a-week social art intensive and boy was I in another world for those days each week. I still ‘felt’ the heaviness of the world around me and perhaps as a sensitive person, we feel things without actually focusing on them. I love hearing how much you are enjoying watching old episodes of Lancer, Susan. I agree that going back to a simpler place in time in our lives, is a wonderful way to break free, if only for a short amount of time.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    I hear you on those unforeseen challenges, Beverley! There are times I’m just in the best place, and wham! But I can always trace that wham back to what I was thinking, feeling, and creating beforehand. Amazing how my mind can replay old tapes without my even thinking about it.
    I just love your being transported into that other world! How cool is that.

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Tamuria says December 7, 2016

So true that chaos attracts chaos Susan and it’s good to know we have the power to stop it in its tracks. When I’m feeling overwhelmed I like to potter in the garden for a while, even if it’s just half an hour. If it’s night time or raining, I’ll pick up a good book or turn on the telly – anything to distract my mind from my to-do list. I always come back to my projects with renewed energy and better ideas.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    Isn’t it just the truth, Tami. And isn’t digging in the dirt just the best medicine!

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Audrey says December 7, 2016

It is amazing how much being bored can make things easier. Love this, so important to take down time.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    Isn’t boredom a wonderful thing, Audrey! And oh, how it helps our creativity 🙂

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Neely Moldovan says December 7, 2016

Sometimes unplugging for social media and reading a book really helps me. My brain for sure needs a diversion right no!

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Teresa Salhi says December 7, 2016

I love how you speak my language but with a different tongue. I am passionate about all things Abraham. I am also a certified law of attraction trainer as well as a women’s success coach. For the reasons you mention about getting out of your head or the chaos out there and I practice what I call “feminine rituals.” The feminine energy is more about being in the body, going within. I do things like journaling, meditation, exercising, being in nature, gardening, cooking, something creative, ….etc to keep me diverted and this also help me connect to my divine guidance and hear my voice of truth vs that analytical one.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    We do speak the same language, Teresa, don’t we! And I agree entirely on the rituals, including all of those you mention. They work for me too 🙂

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Chelley @ A is For Adelaide says December 7, 2016

I get my workout in every night- that gives me the distraction I need.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    Workouts truly work, don’t they, Chelley. They give us distractions, and pump us with those feel-good hormones at the same time!

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Sonya Kolodziejska says December 8, 2016

“Have you ever noticed that the more you get caught up in the chaos, the more chaos comes bounding in?” – YES! My life has been chaos lately and i am almost sure i am attracting it now. So it’s time to make that switch!

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Robin says December 8, 2016

Great article. Best diversion I find is just getting in His Word. I can read intrepretations, but when I study myself, it removes all the distractions, and brings me such a peach and calm. And a Netflix blitz can help as well.

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Nellwyn says December 8, 2016

It’s true that a change is as good as a rest! I usually go for a long walk when I need to clear my head and reset my direction. Taking a break to watch a bit of TV or read a book also helps me escape the moment.

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Hey Sharonoox says December 8, 2016

I experience this by been open-minded with myself. Hypnosis is a great way to see things in different perspective once in the trance. Great post as always!

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Crystal says December 8, 2016

It’s my favorite time of year with all the hustle and bustle, but it’s certainly a stressful time also. I hadn’t considered how you might be attracting more chaos when you least need it.

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    Susan Malone says December 8, 2016

    Aren’t the holidays wonderful, Crystal! Take a diversion now and then so you can enjoy them to the utmost 🙂

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Katarina Andersson says December 8, 2016

True, it is always good to do something different to stress a bit less. Might it be watching Lancer, reading a good book, or anything else where you do not think about all the to do’s and plans.

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Alicia says December 8, 2016

This is a great post. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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Carol Rundle says December 9, 2016

This is why I’m doing a transforming holidays Facebook group this year, to help people deal with the stress of the holidays by transforming how they think about things. Good topic.

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    Susan Malone says December 12, 2016

    Because it’s all about how we think of things, isn’t it, Carol!

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Alene A Geed says December 10, 2016

taking a break from our current situation is always good. I find that when I do take the initiative and create a diversion (shopping sometimes works. So does walking or meditation) the world takes on a different slant when I return to the day to day stuff.

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Joan M Harrington says December 10, 2016

Hi Susan 🙂

Awesome post!! I am as well a follower of the Law of Attraction 🙂 For me, I have a daily gratitude journal as well as I started from the book The Magic,the 28 days of daily activities of feeling gratitude for what you had for what you will have and for what you have now and I have to tell you, my stress level is way down and I feel more peaceful…..so it is working 🙂 I exercise at the gym 3-4 days a week too so all in all I am finding less stress in my daily life.

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    Susan Malone says December 12, 2016

    Isn’t gratitude just the most wonderful thing, Joan! It heals pretty much what ails us, at least psychologically speaking 🙂

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Kristen Wilson says December 11, 2016

I hear you… we need to give our brain a break for sure…. but you also mentioned the LOA… and while I get it… find it a little hard to believe… because so much is not within our control. I can will peace to earth all day long and folks to get along… but everywhere I go there is hate… I didn’t ask for it… I didn’t manifest that.. but it happens. Only thing I can do is to change the way I react, act and choose to believe in or focus on.

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    Susan Malone says December 12, 2016

    How we react to things is everything, Kristen. That’s what brings about lasting change 🙂

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webly says December 11, 2016

A diversion always works to help us recharge and see things in a different perspective. My favorite is netflix on the couch with organic cookies and cream ice cream.

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Lorii Abela says December 11, 2016

Of course, as Abraham always say, “distract yourself.” I myself pay attention to something else when there are things that I am not a fond of shows up. In is a matter of choosing what to focus on. There are many to select from anyway which are more better.

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    Susan Malone says December 12, 2016

    It is all about focus, isn’t it, Lorii. And where we choose to shine the light.

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Elizabeth O says December 12, 2016

Any time we make a shift in our thinking, we gain new insights and a reduction in stress. Some humans thrive on stress as,they claim, it keeps their adrenaline flowing.

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    Susan Malone says December 12, 2016

    So true, Elizabeth–shifting the way we think does provide us with new insights. And lots of stress reduction as well!

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Mindy Iannelli says December 13, 2016

A lot of the time it helps just to walk away, or to literally go outside and take a walk. I think that when we stop actively thinking about something we allow our subconscious mind to take a stab at it! Sometimes when we think to much, we actually STOP thinking!

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    Susan Malone says December 13, 2016

    Exactly, Mindy. I counsel my editorial clients to do this every day–let the subconscious mind figure out the problem!

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Jennifer Quisenberry says December 13, 2016

I’ve always found it ironic that when we need the break the most is when we can take it the least easily. But it’s important to donut anyway. We need to recharge.

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Kathy @ SMART Living 365 says December 13, 2016

Hi Susan! Finally got around to reading this but the minute I did I was tempted to get on a plane and come have a glass of wine with you! We could certainly distract each other in a VERY good way! You KNOW that I completely agree with everything in this post….except maybe the “Lancer” part???? I must say that I can’t ever remember watching that show. But I completely agree with the sentiment! And doesn’t that just fit with my post about “hygge?” And glad to hear you’ve found a something that puts your heart, mind and soul in a “good feeling place.” I listen to Abraham every single morning when I’m walking and have to admit that it is extremely valuable to me in these times. Thanks for all your reminders. ~Kathy

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    Susan Malone says December 14, 2016

    We need to sit and visit with that wine, Kathy! And yes, this fits in exactly with your hygge post! I just loved that one.
    Abraham has been so valuable to me in these times as well. Such practical wisdom.
    So sad you didn’t watch Lancer. Lol. I guess I’ll just have to keep Johnny all to myself 🙂

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Sheryl says December 13, 2016

I love what I do so much it’s tough to give my brain a break! Thank you for the advice, it makes so much sense!

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    Susan Malone says December 14, 2016

    I love hearing that, Sheryl–that you so love what you do! They secret to life 🙂

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Renee groskreutz says December 13, 2016

What an important point. If we don’t allow our brain those “moments” it will just shut down on us.

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    Susan Malone says December 14, 2016

    And we know what happens when that brain shuts down, don’t we, Renee!

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Joyce Hansen says December 13, 2016

You’re singing to the choir Susan. I watched intently up until the election. After the election, news is at a minimum and old movies are the norm. Loved learning about the original meaning of repent.

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    Susan Malone says December 14, 2016

    Those old movies/shows really help us in times like these, don’t they, Joyce. Ah, to repent in a positive way!

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