A-Z of Distractions

Often the best thing is to find out what has worked for other people who understand where you’re coming from. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Alternative therapies: massage, aromatherapy, yoga
  • Bake something nice
  • Bathe and pamper yourself
  • Bite a chilli pepper
  • Butterfly project
  • Clean
  • Craftwork: make things, draw or paint
  • Cook a nice meal
  • Dance and jump around
  • Do a quiz
  • Exercise for a release of endorphins and that feel-good factor
  • Expert – become an expert in what helps at different stages of distress
  • Fashion show
  • Friends and Family – take some time to be with people who are important to you
  • Future and forward planning – plan something positive to do in the near future and try and set longer term goals
  • Gardening
  • Go fishing
  • Go for a walk
  • Go online and look at websites that offer you advice and information
  • Have a good cry
  • Have a cold shower
  • Hug a soft toy
  • Hug someone special but only if you feel safe to
  • Indulge in some creative writing – create a safe fantasy world where you can control what happens
  • Involve yourself in a puzzle try and focus on something other than the distress
  • Join a gym or club – something that involves getting in to a new environment and reducing isolation
  • Knit (it’s not just for old people you know)
  • Laugh
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Learn a new language
  • Make a video
  • Meditate
  • Mindfulness – try focussing on the here and now, focus on something small such as washing up bubbles and focus on the details, are they hot or cold? What are their colours? How big are they? What do they feel like? What noise do they make? Etc.
  • Music – listen to something that calms and soothes but try and avoid music that heightens the distress
  • Music: singing, or playing instruments, (basically making as much noise as you can)
  • Moisturise, Make-up and being nice to yourself
  • Open up to a friend or family member about how you are feeling
  • Origami
  • Paper aeroplanes
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Phone a helpline – sometimes it is easier to open up to someone who you do not know and who won’t judge you
  • Plant a tree
  • Play computer games
  • Play with a stress ball or make one yourself
  • Punch Pillows – try expressing your anger and frustration by hitting a pillow
  • Put tabasco sauce on your tongue
  • Read a book
  • Rip up a phone directory (does anyone actually use them these days?) Very difficult to do and uses a lot of focus and energy
  • Scream and Shout in a room where you will not be disturbed
  • Shop for something nice – treat yourself
  • Smoke – smokers find that having a cigarette can help but beware and avoid if you feel like burning yourself
  • Snap an elastic band on your wrist
  • Spend time with children
  • Stroke your pets
  • Talk – if you cannot talk to a person, talk to a pet or an object, practise expressing your feelings
  • Tell or listen to jokes
  • Urban dictionary – write your own
  • Use the internet
  • Visit a zoo or a farm (animals do the best things)
  • Volunteer for an organisation (will make you feel all warm inside)
  • Watch TV or films – particularly comedies
  • Wax your legs
  • Write: diary, poems, a book
  • Write negative feelings on paper, then rip them up
  • Yoga: meditation, deep breathing – this might help you relax and control your urges
  • Zzz – get a good night’s sleep