2nd October 2020

For many of us, our time with needle and thread is what we use to distract ourselves from the world around us. As we concentrate on each stitch before us and the meditative push and pull of needle and thread through fabric, it’s perhaps one of the few places we’re able to quiet our minds, silence our inner voice and forget the ever-growing To Do List that exists in our ‘real’ lives.

But have you ever found yourself looking for a distraction from your needlework?!

Whilst many would gasp at such a thought, there’s no doubt been a time when each of us have looked to a load of laundry, a sink of dirty dishes or an unmade bed to call us away from the stitching before us. Whilst it sounds counterintuitive that we’d look for a distraction from the very thing that’s meant to be distracting us, we recently came across an article by Nir Eyal that made us realise that this does indeed happen, and for a very good reason.

Nir embarked on a five-year journey to understand distraction, along the way discovering that ‘distraction often begins from within, not without’ and found the way to cope with these interruptions comes from ‘identifying and managing the psychological discomfort that leads us off track’.

The prompt of distracting ourselves often comes from our brains trying to avoid challenges, therefore searching for comfort in distraction. It’s our body’s way of protecting us. However, if we’re able to recognise these internal promptings that we know lead us astray and respond by refocusing on what’s before us, we’ll find them the best tool we have for pushing ourselves further and advancing our development.

So next time you find yourself facing a new stitch, a difficult technique or simply the fatigue of a lengthy project and feel the call of the laundry, the dishes or the yet to be made bed that threatens to distract your time, lean into the discomfort and face the challenge before you knowing that on the other side, the satisfaction of what you’ve learned and how far your ability with needle and thread has come will make the temporary unease more than worthwhile.

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