Distraction has its merits. Life can be intense; physical and emotional pain and the stress of daily life often hold our attention, making it hard to focus on anything else. When we distract ourselves in a balanced way, we can temporarily step outside of the confines of our routine thought patterns, set aside our worries, and perhaps be diverted from the sensation of chronic aches and pains. Shifting gears at the end of the day (or whenever we need it) and “distracting” ourselves with a conversation, exercise, a book, a walk in the woods, or even watching a show or playing a game on a phone, can be helpful ways to disengage from life’s stressors. However, when distraction becomes our way of being, the only way we feel comfortable existing, we have a problem. For many people simply sitting quietly has become deeply uncomfortable. As a society we are accustomed to constant distraction. Silence is rare. Screens are everywhere. The distractions they provide sometimes help us wind down, but often wind us even tighter.
READ MORE about the extreme measures people will take to avoid being alone with their thoughts and how meditation can help.