The Art of Distractibility, Part III: Fortify with Good Thoughts

I wake up, an underslept mess because I was tossing and turning all night, pestered by regrets and worries. The morning starts in a confused fog of bad feelings and muddy thinking. I’m sullen towards everyone I see, and I’m angry at myself. I want to get things done! I want to get along with everybody! How the heck do I fix this?!

Have you ever gone to bed badly and started the next day even worse?

You’re not the only one! You can think of your willpower as a battery that’s full when you wake up. By the end of the day, it’s at its lowest point, and so you’re least able to defend yourself against feelings such as sadness, cantankerousness, and anxiousness. If you fall into a trap of bad thoughts and feelings right before bed, chances are it will compromise your sleep and hamstring your tomorrow morning.

So how can you shield yourself from end-of-day-blues and next-morning misery?

Use the Art of Distractibility to fortify your mind with grateful thoughts! You’ve learned that negative thoughts are fallible and that you can challenge them. Better yet is to prevent rumination by proactively filling your mind with what you’re grateful for.

According to positive psychology research, keeping a gratitude journal is one of the most effective activities for increasing well-being. Follow these simple steps to get the most out of writing about what went well during your day:

  1. Write about what happened.
  2. Write about what was good about it.
  3. Write about what you contributed to make the good thing happen.

I recommend doing this right before bed so that your mind is full of gratitude when you nod off. Bonus: Thinking about the day’s positives often brings happy and calm feelings, which may help you get to sleep sooner. For more on how to find and enjoy the positives in your day, click here.

When we aren’t intentional about our thinking, we usually wander down negativity lane. Hence you should proactively fill your mind with positive thoughts – the third lesson in our Art of Distraction blog series. Benjamin Franklin is right: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so give yourself a gratitude vaccine nightly to preclude a nasty bout of negativity flu!

Come back soon for the fourth blog on leveraging distractibility to your flourishing advantage!

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