Future Generali

How to deal with overwhelming emotions when one is trying to focus?

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Rakesh Wadhwa:

Emotions are natural and involuntary. So how do you work on emotions? Well, when you're focusing on distraction tactics.

Nir Eyal:

So these are the internal triggers and it's important to realize that they are the underlying cause of distraction. Most people don't realize and they blame the distraction. They blame the thing they do to escape the internal trigger. And they look for some kind of relief to get out of their heads, whether it's taking a, a drink to take their minds, it's off their problem, whether it's scrolling the news to worry about somebody else's problem halfway around the world, as opposed to thinking about your own problems, whether it's so watching too much television, too much cricket, whatever. When we do these things, none of them are necessarily bad. What's bad about it is if we turn to them out of habit to escape uncomfortable sensations, that's when this practice becomes harmful, as opposed to helpful. So there's nothing wrong with watching a cricket match, as long as you do it on your schedule when you plan to do it, rather than, just because you're feeling bored or uncertain or whatever it is that you're looking to escape discomfort. So the first step to becoming indistractable, as we talked about is about mastering those internal triggers. And so there's all kinds of tactics that you use. You can use to disarm that Discomfort to deal with it, to process it in a healthy way that leads you towards traction rather than distraction. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you in terms of how do you handle that emotional distress is to disavow this idea, that feeling bad is bad. You see many people in the self-help community these days preach this message that we're supposed to all be happy all the time. Then we're supposed to feel good constantly that if you're not feeling awesome, 100% of the time, something's wrong with you, that that emotion needs to be escaped. That is not true. Okay. Feeling bad is not bad. In fact, our species has evolved to be perpetually perturbed. We are designed to always want more. Think about it from an evolutionary basis. If there was ever a tribe of homosapiens that was sitting on the Savanna, perfectly happy and content, our ancestors probably killed and ate them. Right because what's your motivation to improve your life, if you don't feel those internal triggers. So internal triggers are not bad. They can be the rocket fuel to help us make the world and our lives better.

We can harness the boredom, the uncertainty, the fear, the anxiety to help us build new inventions, discover new medicines, overturn desk spots, reach for the moon. It's the same emotions that can drive us towards traction rather than distraction. So don't believe that just because you feel bad, that's a bad thing.

Quite the opposite. It's about harnessing that discomfort to help move you forward healthy traction rather than harmful distraction.

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