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Distraction as a Positive Coping Skill and MOTHER-DAUGHTER MURDER NIGHT by Nina Simon

Cover of the book Mother-Daughter Murder night by Nina Simon used to teach distraction as a positive coping skill.

Lana Rubicon was a consummate businesswoman. Her days were filled with real-estate deals and power lunches. Lana didn’t need help from anyone until she was diagnosed with cancer. Then, Lana bit the bullet, reconciled with her semi-estranged daughter and granddaughter, moved into their home, and convalesced.  


For a few months, Lana went downhill. Work left her behind. Chemo was physically debilitating. She missed her friends and her old life. Lana was depressed.


Then, her granddaughter saw a body floating in the water. A murder in their small town?  Intriguing. Lana played detective by interviewing potential witnesses and researching motives. The distraction proved helpful. Lana remained sick, but crime-solving made her feel empowered and content.


There are several types of healthy coping skills, including cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, seeking support, and distraction. Distraction is not denial or pretending that problems don’t exist. Instead, it is a passive coping strategy of using pleasurable activities to take one’s mind off whatever is causing distress. Distraction is particularly beneficial when a person is doing everything within their power to make things better, and the situation is unchangeable (i.e., Lana’s cancer).


Here are effective ways to use distraction as a positive coping skill:


Immerse Yourself In Another World: Try reading a book, watching TV, or cheering on your favorite team. Focus on details. The more engaged you are in the alternative world, the more helpful the break.


Engage in Creative Activities: Try drawing, painting, playing an instrument, even playing with legos. Challenge yourself to do something new or to get in a pure zen creative zone for the most effective distraction.


Focus on Fun: Do things that make you happy! Ideas include playing sports or games, talking with friends, hanging with pets, shopping, and volunteering.


Use Several Skills: Use distraction along with problem-solving, cognitive restructuring, and seeking support.  Distraction paired with other strategies is effective; distraction alone is ineffective.  



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