There are some activities that combat this unhealthy habit to some extent - reading would be one. But even then, unless I am absolutely engrossed in a novel or article, I still often get to the end of the page and realise I've gone off into my own little world and not taken in a word of what I've seemingly read.
So it was quite a surprise when I picked up a needle and some thread sometime in late 2012, having found some little cross stitch sets in Hobbycraft and decided to have a play, that I realised I could sew away for quite some time, thinking of precisely nothing much and lose myself in the simplicity of the stitching. I think, to some extent, I found flow.
Flow, to the uninitiated, is a concept born of a Hungarian chap named Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, and describes that state where you are 'in the zone', when you lose yourself in an activity and lose track of time. I'm not sure I feel the kind of rapturous joy that is sometimes associated with the state of flow, but I can switch off the little voices in my head, zone out and give my poor, ground down teeth a rest.
I've not done much sewing since my little discovery. I finished the cross stitch sets, made a few little felt Christmas decorations and was given a lovely, purple sewing machine as a gift. However I've found that I often lack the confidence to just 'have a go' and I'm the type of person who learns best by being shown practical things by someone in person.
So that, in a nutshell, is why I am starting a short course in sewing in a couple of weeks time. My dentist and I can't wait!
I'd love to hear what brings other people flow.