Our Distraction Loop

Football is back. American professional football. The NFL.

Whether you love the sport (nearly 26 million people watched the Buccaneers loss against the Saints), hate the sport, or can only think of football as being a spherical ball being kicked around on a field by nearly 250 million players in over 200 countries and is mostly clearly the world’s most popular sport – makes not one bit of difference this week.

Because one thing is clear, the world is a better place when we have sports around to distract people.

And this year, we need that distraction more than ever.

This has been quite a year. You don’t need me to tell you.

You’ve probably felt every bit of it.

And even if you’ve weathered the storm – you’ve certainly seen it in the faces of your family, loved ones, friends and neighbors (only on Zoom of course). You can see it in the eyes of those haggard faces hidden behind their face masks while you are out at Home Depot loading up for those improvement projects. 2020 has been a doozy of a year and we are all more than ready for it to be over.

Sure, there is plenty of criticism that sports are a form of mass distraction. Just one of many forms of entertainment made into big business to keep the masses from paying too much attention to those in power. Not to mention that many that are in power are connected and are the owners of much of the world’s entertainment. This has been a common tool since the days of bread and circuses that the Roman Empire used so well to keep the mob from getting too interested in the decisions of the elite.

In a year, such as this, where there is a political contest being waged in the US – the NFL will still undoubtedly pull in more viewers for the Packers Saints match up on Sun, 9/27 or even the Chiefs Ravens game on Monday 9/28 – than Trump and Biden will pull in the next night when they match up for the Presidential Debate. I’m not sure that I can draw any conclusions from this. It should make us take notice.

We have so many different forms of entertainment that can be used to dull our senses, distract, and entertain us. I don’t begrudge any of us that need, especially in a year like this. In moderation this makes complete sense and isn’t dangerous.

As with many things, moderation is key. If we keep taking pain meds to numb ourselves rather than treat the source of our issue – we will find the need to take an ever increasing amount of meds to continue to do the job. We may find ourselves regularly binge watching Netflix and You Tube videos rather than develop a positive behavior that can help us through the malaise.

Our top searches this week on Google, almost, all revolve around entertainment. From Big Ten Football, the Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson movie “The Devil All the Time”, to the Clippers, Celtics, Mandalorian’ Season 2, and iOS 14 release date – nearly all our top searches involve entertainment. All of it a distraction.

There are some glimmers of hope with Sally Hurricane, Bill Gates, and look, Breonna Taylor is popping up in second place for today’s search terms, tied with Maya Moore getting married to the man she helped free from prison. – Some big and important issues to be sure, as long as we are searching for information and entertainment in the guise of information.

I’m all for entertainment. I’ll definitely catch some of my Packers games this year. I can use some distraction. Can’t we all.

I’m just hoping and praying that we are all spending a bit more time on learning, growing as people, helping others, and all around doing good than we are on our entertainment binges and searches. The world is a rich and amazing place and there is plenty for us humans to be doing with our time aside from being distracted. We need our fun. I love to have fun. Let’s just make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the important work that needs to be done first.

Do you find yourself Stuck in the Anxiety-Distraction Feedback Loop – Here is a YouTube Video from the Ken Coleman show – you may find interesting.  Do You Feel Stuck in the Anxiety-Distraction Feedback Loop?


Check out a quick read from Jennifer Anders, PsyD. On Moving Beyond the Anxiety and Perfectionism Feedback Loop.


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