What a distraction…

The very definition of distraction seems to imply that it is bad, right? Well, not always. I believe that for those of us who live with a chronic disease that requires, no demands, a whole lot of our attention (sometimes 24/7), distractions can be a lifesaver.

I am not by any means referring to the obvious bad distractions we know are dangerous, such as texting while driving.  Or even to those that might pull us away from taking care of ourselves, properly managing our RA or tending to our workplace duties, etc.

What I am in favor of are those good distractions that give us some respite from the sometimes constant demands of a chronic disease.  The ones that allow us to take a “timeout” from the almost nonstop worry that can accompany RA.  I believe that we all need to step away sometimes from all of the heavy issues that go hand in hand with managing a chronic disease like RA.

I never considered myself much of a worrier until RA.  Now I sometimes find my mind drifts to worse case scenarios far too often than I like or would ever have thought possible pre RA. I recently came across some interesting statistics about worry at a workshop I attended put on by the Complete Sales Action System.  They stated the following:

  • 40% of all things we worry about never happen
  • 30% have already happened and we cannot do anything about them
  • 12% are needless worries about health
  • 10% are petty, miscellaneous issues
  • 8% are real worries, 1/2 of which we can do a little to control and 1/2 of which we can do nothing about.

With that in mind it makes worrying seem like such a useless exercise!  All the more reason to welcome some distraction into your life. Taking some time to replenish your mind, body and spirit with some lovely distractions can be the perfect antidote for worry.

When you have a disease that is as chaotic and unpredictable as RA we often find ourselves “waiting for the other shoe to drop”.  What will be the next challenge?  When will the next flare happen?  How soon till this medication works or stops working?  So many “sidebars” to this story. Which is exactly why we need to welcome distractions with open (often painful) arms!

It need not be something complicated.  For me going to a sporting event is a great and welcome distraction.  A movie or theatre production work well too.  And it doesn’t need to be for a long time either. Sometimes just an hour or two of “escaping” worry can be just what our minds need to refresh and relax.  I recently discovered coloring books again and when my hands are feeling good I love to spend as much time as I want doing some old fashioned coloring!  I am also an avid reader so that always brings me peace and calm as does my Tai Chi.

Of course a nice trip is the perfect and ultimate distraction for me once I get past the preparation and planning!  Once away from the routine and daily concerns, a nice trip serves to get me back on track and less likely to be sucked into the cycle of worry and drama that is so easy to succumb to.

I find when I get back from a trip or after I have spent some time enjoying some distractions my mind is clear and calm and I am ready to once again face the realities of RA, maybe even better able to thanks to the “good distractions” I have savored!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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