Striving to Thriving

Distraction – A Pain Management Tool

Laughter is Good Medicine

Laughter is not only good medicine, but so are great distractions. Enjoy the video below then continue reading. You may have to adjust your browser window size to see the whole video window.


Ask yourself, “How much pain did I feel when watching this video?” If you’re like most you felt very little if any. That’s really important!

Distraction is one of many pain management tools and it’s a powerful one. Why? Because, as wonderful as our brains are, they are capable of processing only so much information at one time. There are resource limitations in everyone’s brain. Your brain can do only so much. Use that to your advantage. The greater amount of resources your brain uses being distracted, the fewer resources are available to process pain information.

Some studies show that unless the subject’s attention is actively directed elsewhere, painful stimuli takes precedence over competing non-painful ones. Therefore, only  sufficiently attention-demanding cognitive tasks (or distracter tasks) can draw you attention away from the processing of pain, and we know that attention is a pain amplifier. So, add distraction to your pain management toolbox.

Let’s get distracted with things that require:

Focused concentration and preferably relies on, or engages, some sort of hand-eye coordination:

  • Drawing or painting
  • Crafts or models
  • Walking or exercise

Creativity, calculating or learning:

  • Sudoku, crosswords, etc.
  • Learning something new
  • Writing
  • Gratitude journaling or expressive writing
  • Solving equations

Focus but are still relaxing:

  • Breathing and meditation
  • Playing games
  • Spending time with friends
  • Reading a good book
  • Listening to music
  • And of course, laughter.

Let’s talk about learning…

Don’t just sit there suffering and focusing on your pain. Instead, get creative. Learn something new that’s been on your “bucket list” for some time. Try something way outside your comfort zone that’s enjoyable. Do something that consumes your brain’s computing resources, and most of all, have some fun.


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