When I was still depressed, puzzles were my constant companion. Back then, I used to hear voices in my head, which would make me think of attempting suicide so that they would stop. My depression was not too severe for me to realize how wrong that idea was, though, so I decided to look for a distraction — the puzzles.
I could count the number of times I heard such voices accurately as they corresponded to the number of complete puzzles displayed in my house. There are a total of 12 of them as we speak. I always bought two boxes of 1000-piece puzzles every time I would go to the mall because I was afraid of running out of them. I chose that quantity instead of small ones because it gave me something to do for hours. As long as the internal noise was on, I would be on the floor, hunched over the puzzle pieces. Sometimes, I would be able to finish one in a single sitting, but it was okay.
Thanks to puzzles, I got distracted from the things that could have pushed me to take my life. I did not need to spend months in therapy because of it. My condition got better sooner than expected, too.
“Reading, doing challenging puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku, debating issues with others who have opposing viewpoints, learning a new language or musical instrument, trying a new hobby, or teaching and tutoring others are all ways to maintain or improve your intellectual wellness.” –Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC
In case you have not used a mental distraction like a puzzle before, here are a few benefits that you will get from it.
Prevent You From Thinking Too Much
“Tied to the overthinking factor, most individuals who are diagnosed with anxiety as a mental health disorder also experience high levels of perfectionism and compulsive behaviors that begin to drive their lives.” That is according to Wendy Iglehart MA, LCPC, LLC. The #1 advantage of distracting yourself with puzzles and other toys is that you can avoid overthinking. If truth be told, not everything that comes to our mind is worth thinking about. Some may give us eternal glory, but others may cause eternal damnation. Considering you are aware that your thoughts won’t bring you good at all, you should grab the first object that you can find and focus on it as if it’s the most exciting thing in the world.
Stop Negative Thoughts From Coming
Mental distractions can also stop negative thoughts from coming. As mentioned above, you cannot stay in your head too much. The result is that you will not have time to accommodate awful ideas that can bring your mood down. Not to mention, the distractor can make you happy as well, especially since you get a sense of accomplishment when you’re done with it. “Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.” Licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D. explains.
Avoid Sitting On The Same Idea For Hours
Doing nothing when the same thoughts play in your head cannot be a bright idea. It will appear like you are allowing them to take control of yourself. To prevent that, you have to trick your mind into thinking of other things. That will push more productive thoughts towards the center of your brain.
Life is not like a glass vase that cannot be repaired once it breaks. I like to say that we are similar to cats that have nine lives. If we lose one, we can have another life. However, we need to make sure that we won’t commit the same mistakes from the past to avoid needing another do-over.
Consider using mental distractions today, regardless if you have a psychological disorder or not.