Avoiding Distractions With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com GuideSeptember 5, 2012
When you have cognitive dysfunction along with your fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, distractions can be a big problem. It can be hard enough for us to follow our trains of thought, and a distraction can derail us completely.
Being distracted isn't just an annoyance and possibly embarrassing. It can also make our brain fog worse, and sometimes it can really increase our anxiety.
It's easy to spot some possible distractions - such as a TV on while you're having a conversation - but others aren't nearly as obvious.
I was recently watching a science special that tested how distracting it is to hear different types of conversations. They had people perform simple tasks in quiet, then while two people in the room were talking, and then while someone was talking on the cell phone.
It turns out that the cell phone conversation was far more distracting than the two people talking. Researchers said it was because the human brain occupies much of itself by trying to fill in the parts of the conversation we can't hear. Most of us know that it's annoying to sit and listed to one side of a conversation, and this explains why - it over-taxes our brains.
So how does this help us? I know that now I'll make an effort to leave the room if someone is talking on the phone, or ask the other person to leave the room.
Researchers also looked at how distracted people were when on a cell phone in public. To a person, they were so oblivious to their surroundings that they didn't notice a clown on a unicycle buzzing by them multiple times. They compared the level of distraction to driving drunk. It's made more more cognizant of how dangerous it is to talk while driving, especially since I know I'm easily distractable.
Other things I found to be really distracting are:
- White noise
- Repetitive background noises
- Music with lyrics
- Visual clutter
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