Distracting Oneself from Overthinking

This weekend, western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region had to deal with some relatively common winter weather. Saturday we had mixtures of rain and snow which threatened to turn into freezing rain overnight into Sunday. Then Sunday’s temperatures fell to brutally cold levels with a wind chill well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Today’s temperatures remained in the low teens. So most people in our region spent the weekend at home, avoiding the cold as much as possible.

I took advantage of the long, uneventful hours by working on some fanart. I know I should have probably spent part of the weekend writing or editing, but it’s been nearly a year since I took time to work on a piece solely for my enjoyment. And the time spent on sketching, painting, and coloring helped distract my mind from other things.

I am the type of person who if left with too much time to think and no distractions to occupy my mind will overthink nearly anything and everything. Little interactions with people, whether online or in the real world, will pop up in my thoughts, and I’ll analyze what was said or not said, what could have been said, what I wish I could have said, and what I should have said. (Yes, it gets complicated.)

Not all of these thought scenarios lead to negativity. Some prove comforting and others allow me to work out a little aggression. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen that I didn’t have the best of weeks last weeks, and so I had a number of frustrations to work out.) However, when I do fall into the realms of self-doubt during these bouts of overthinking, it can take some effort to pull myself out of the negativity.

This is where music and artwork can become a great help to me. Music is as versatile as humans are diverse. For every mood I want to create in myself, I can find a song or melody to help me capture it. Listening to and loving a wide range of music helps me in this, whether we’re talking classic rock, pop music, country, hard rock, metal, classical, or folk music from not just America but around the world. Drawing and painting also help distract me by filling my mind with tedious detail work or analysis of color and lighting. It takes a great deal of my focus to work out the finer points of an art project, mainly because I don’t get the opportunity to use those skills all that often. What comes easily for other people can take me hours, but that’s why it makes for an excellent distraction from my thoughts.

If you find yourself in a similar situation of too much time to think and not enough distractions, I hope you find your own methods for breaking yourself out of negative thoughts. It may not involve music or artwork. It may not even involve anything particularly constructive for you. However, the important thing is to find something that works for you in a healthy and helpful way. And if you can find distractions that allow for you to make progress on personal projects, I wish you all the best.

I hope your weather is more agreeable than ours has been this weekend, and that you have a great week!


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