Distraction is about more than your devices. Separate proximate causes from the root cause. All motivation is a desire to escape discomfort. If a behavior was previously effective at providing relief, we're likely to continue using it as a tool to escape discomfort. Anything that stops discomfort is potentially addictive, but that doesn't make it irresistible. If you know the drivers of your behavior, you can take steps to manage them. One fear response is to fight. It's active resistance. People responding in this mode may say, "I don't want to change my life. I'm happy with you the way things are." Or, "I don't want to sit around and talk about painful things. Why would you want to do that? We've always agreed to stay positive." They might turn things around and perceive your previous hiding as active deception, asking, "Why didn't you tell me this before? Did you not trust me? What other things are you hiding from me?" There's also a more passive resistance within the fight response. Folks reacting in this way might nod their head as they listen, as if in total agreement with what is being asked of them. But underneath that facade, they have no intention of doing anything. When it's time to sit down and have that heart-to-heart conversation, they make excuses: "I thought I'd have time this afternoon, but things got away from me." Or, "Gosh, I've been through a hard, long day and just don't have the energy. Let's do it tomorrow." And tomorrow never comes. The flight response is exactly what it sounds like: escape. The proposed change to the relationship may be too frightening, and your partner or friend may feel very threatened--so threatened that they can withdraw and refuse to see it from your perspective.

They might say, "I didn't know this was going on. I don't even know what to say." And then they leave. And they don't bring it up again. Flight can also occur through denial, as they "escape" by denying that there's a problem. Perhaps they say flatly, "I don't believe that you've been depressed. You'd be sleeping all the time if you were. And you're the Energizer Bunny. Who's given you these ideas?" Your revelations are dismissed. And the opportunity for change is missed. Your internal dialogue tends to be totally monopolistic. Internal dialogue crowds out or drowns out any other data, from any other source, because, after all, this information is coming from you and you pay close attention to yourself, because you wouldn't lie to or mislead yourself--or would you? As a result, you may spend your time lost in the hustle-bustle and the frantic self-talk that goes with it. You may be condemning yourself for not keeping up or obsessing about what you didn't do or could have done better. You may be cheerleading yourself with an endless rah-rah session. Meanwhile, if your internal dialogue is really active, it can become so loud and pervasive that you fail to see important events going on all around you. You fail to hear what may be important messages from others. You might miss real opportunities for success or signals that you need to recognize in order to avoid danger. You lose awareness of your blessings. The rationally optimistic thoughts that you could be having get shoved to one side, simply because they aren't as loud, shrill, threatening, or demanding as your emotional self-talk. Here's what may be the most troubling characteristic of all: Your negative internal dialogue gets the loudest when you need it the least.

It gets the loudest when the pressure's on, because it flows at least in part from your personal truth. If your personal truth is riddled with doubts and anxieties, so, too, will it be with your internal dialogue. That dialogue, with all of its self-defeating messages, gets the loudest when you're in a confrontation with someone else. It gets the loudest when you're trying for that job: You're not smart enough; You're not good enough; You're gonna fail. It gets the loudest when you're deciding what you're willing to settle for in a mate, in a lifestyle, in a job. What you hear yourself saying is, Come on, what are you? Like, king or queen of the universe? You know, you just need to take what you can get and go on. Don't be putting on airs. That kind of talk, if you listen to it at such pivotal moments, can change your life forever. You end up being your own worst enemy. Waxy and lustrous, jade is most known in its green and translucent presentation. Jade is a lovely choice for elevating our wellbeing as it is understood to soothe, uplift and clarify us. It is still honoured as a highly potent, precious and powerful stone in China today, where it has been a symbol of status, spirituality and purity for over nine thousand years. Jade (pounamou or greenstone) is also traditionally used and worn in Maori culture, with jade pendants representing ancestor spirits passed down from generation to generation along male lines. Jade is especially powerful when touching the body. You might like to explore jade jewellery, or find a set of jade prayer beads to touch during your meditations. While there are a great number of crystals to explore, another two I particularly love and keep on hand are clear quartz, affectionately known by many as the master healer', and amethyst, theall-purpose stone'. Both these crystals are said to help clarify our thinking while bringing divine healing to our physical and energetic bodies. I enjoy the ritual of putting all my crystals out under a full moon to cleanse and energise them, and washing them in saltwater to purify them now and again.

I like to add little crystals to my homemade body sprays, to my baths and water filter, wear them as jewellery and arrange them as objects of beauty around me. Essential oils are the distilled essences of natural botanicals. There is a whole world of beautiful essential oils to explore, and to select in harmony with and support of our moods and needs. One of the most common ways to enjoy essential oils at home is through diffusers or oil burners, but there are many other ways that they can be savoured. When a woman encounters someone in pain, her insula remains active so long as the other person is suffering. As a result, her emotional feelings remain fresh and immediate. On the other hand, a man in the same situation will experience empathy at first, but his insula will not continue to perpetuate these feelings indefinitely. Instead, he will look beyond his emotional state and instead try to find ways to deal with the cause of the suffering. So, is the mother with her child in the picture more empathetic than the man in the suit? Maybe, but don't underestimate the empathetic resources of either gender. True emotional intelligence defies easy categorization. When was the last time you had a strong desire? Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, "If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pulls you." That's the power of emotions: they are the fuel that propel you forward. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato once likened the psyche to a chariot pulled by winged steeds. In his analogy, the intellect is the driver who manages the reigns; the emotions are the stallions that impel the chariot onward and upward. In many ways, cultivating emotional intelligence amounts to learning how to manage the emotions that carry us ahead. At first, I didn't want to believe the inconvenient truth behind what really drives distraction. But after digesting the scientific literature, I had to face the fact that the motivation for diversion originates within us. As is the case with all human behavior, distraction is just another way our brains attempt to deal with pain.

If we accept this fact, it makes sense that the only way to handle distraction is by learning to handle discomfort. If distraction costs us time, then time management is pain management. But where does our discomfort come from? Why are we perpetually restless and unsatisfied? We live in the safest, healthiest, most well-educated, most democratic time in human history, and yet some part of the human psyche causes us to constantly look for an escape from things stirring inside us. As the eighteenth-century poet Samuel Johnson said, "My life is one long escape from myself." Mine too, brother. Mine too. Thankfully, we can take solace in knowing we are hardwired for this sort of dissatisfaction. Sorry to say, but odds are you and I are never going to be fully happy with our lives. Sporadic bouts of joy, sure. An occasional feeling of euphoria? Yes. Singing "Happy" by Pharrell Williams in your underwear once in a while? OK, who hasn't? But the sustained "happily ever after" sort of satisfaction you see in the movies? Forget it. It's a myth. That sort of happiness is designed to never last for long. Eons of evolution gave you and me a brain in a near-constant state of discontentment. We're wired this way for a simple reason.