The Art of Distraction

"I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I never once considered art to be an “escape”. It wasn’t until I started seeing books upon books of mindful colouring that I began to recognise the mindfulness element that art gave to me."


Distractions often get a bad reputation. Most of the time, conversations about distractions go something like this: “Distractions just keep people from facing their problems and fears head-on!" Or “Distractions are unhealthy,” and finally "They are too distracted, they'll never learn,” and so on. Even the occasional, "They are so distrusted they are disrupting others!”

But for those recovering from eating disorders, distractions can be a key part of refraining from giving in to disordered thoughts and behaviours. Feeling guilty and ready to panic about what you've just eaten? Considering purging, using laxatives, or chewing and restricting for the rest of the day? Thinking about weighing yourself? Find a distraction. Channel all of your anxious energy into a creative or chilled activity (distraction).

I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I never once considered art to be an “escape”. It wasn’t until I started seeing books upon books of mindful colouring that I began to recognise the mindfulness element that art gave to me. Soon after I started reading blogs that suggested ed recoverers should consider using art as a coping mechanism. Since then, I’ve developed a new (new to me, that is) style of art – highly detailed, time-consuming, mad-colour “doodles”, as I like to call them. Putting all of my energy into creating these intricate free-hand drawings has been a tremendously effective distraction.

Healthy distractions can be any activity or hobby that requires your full attention and mental energy. For example, painting your nails, knitting, doing a crossword puzzle, reading a book, baking or cooking, lego making, and so on. How do you distract yourself when the seemingly-overwhelming urge to engage in disordered behaviours hits? What distraction will it be? 

 Photography by: Miro Arva

Photography by: Miro Arva