Continuing the discussion of distractions, Rubin describes two types of trances that impact us. One is the “bad trance” and the other is the “good trance.”
The “bad trance” hits when you are exhausted. It’s the paradox of being too tired and too wired to go to bed. This is a great example of when one’s executive function has been maxed out and decision-making is severely compromised. During a “bad trance” you overindulge in things you don’t even enjoy. What’s the price you pay for this overindulgence?
This is the perfect time for an awareness pause – what’s happening? The power of the pause, if you’re honest with yourself, gives you the opportunity to make a better choice, to be mindful. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself, “What’s the smallest step I can take to move forward?”
The “good trance” by contrast is the state of flow where time passes quickly, you feel energized, and exhilarated. Even during these times, what would happen if you paused to be present and appreciate that you are in a state of flow? It’s another example of an awareness pause.
Rubin comments that she has discovered that getting more sleep has resulted in a marked decline in the frequency of her “bad trances.”
She concludes this chapter by talking about focus boosters. Hers was chewing on something when she was writing. Chewing on plastic coffee stirrers met her need. In fact, she said, “I’ve been astonished at how helpful this small habit is.”
This same idea is more richly discussed in Fidget to Focus by Roland Rotz and Sarah Wright. This book explores all types of fidgets from doodling to sucking on a lemon drop to boost focus. Fidget to Focus strategies include movement, sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and time. Although Rotz and Wright wrote this book to help individuals with ADHD, their strategies can help others too. I appreciate their discussion of strategies for home, work, and school.