Distraction Techniques

Distraction techniques are best used for tolerating and surviving a crisis situation that you cannot deal with at the moment. It is about moving you away from the extreme feelings, body sensations, and thoughts of the moment. It is important that you do not over-rely on distraction techniques as they take you out of the present moment, and can lead to problems with dissociation.

Math & Counting

Count backwards from 100 by 7.

Count colours in a painting.

Run through a times table in your head.

Pick and number and try to come up with as many equations that will get you to that number (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.)

Count your breaths.

Categories

List as many items you can think of in a category (dogs, cities, fruits, etc.). Make sure you are able to list at least 10 or switch to a different category.

Pay attention to your surrounding and make lists of items in your surrounding that fit into different categories.

Go down the alphabet and for each letter list girls’ names and then boys’ names. You also can do the alphabet strategy for other categories like countries and fruits.

Reading

Read something backwards, letter-by-letter. Practice for at least a few minutes.

Recite a poem, story, or song.

Spell the weather, such as rain R-A-I-N.

Guessing /Memory Games

Look at people around you and guess their occupation.

Look at a photograph or picture for 5-10 seconds. Turn over the picture and recreate it in your mind or mentally list all the things you remember in the picture.

Emotions (Try to get in touch with a different emotion – the goal is to get out of the current emotion that you are feeling)

Listen to emotional music that evokes a different emotion.

Watch emotional movies, shows, films, or documentaries that evoke a different emotion.

Read emotional books/stories.

Comparisons

Think of a time when you felt differently and compare it to how you feel now.

Watch reality TV shows about others’ troubles or watch documentaries about disasters.

Activities

Focus on a task, movie/show, video/computer/mobile game, or surf the internet

Read a newspaper, magazine, or book.

Do a puzzle, colour in a colouring book, or doodle.

Visualization

Visualise yourself putting the problem on a shelf for you to come back to later.

Visualize a daily/common task that you enjoy and go through all the steps mentally that it takes to complete the task.

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