Staying occupied is a socially sanctioned way of remaining distant from our pain.

Staying occupied is a socially sanctioned way of remaining distant from our pain.
– Tara Brach

The idea that staying occupied is a socially acceptable means of avoiding emotional pain sheds light on a common coping mechanism prevalent in society. When faced with discomfort or distress, it’s natural for individuals to seek distractions or keep themselves busy to avoid confronting their inner turmoil directly.

In today’s fast-paced world, the pressure to always keep moving is often seen as a measure of success. We pack our schedules with tasks and commitments, thinking that staying busy will protect us from feeling sad or upset. Whether we throw ourselves into work, spend hours on social media, or fill our days with endless activities, the constant busyness acts like a shield, keeping us from facing our pain directly.

However, while staying occupied may provide temporary relief, it ultimately prevents us from addressing the root causes of our emotional pain. By constantly distracting ourselves, we avoid the necessary process of introspection and self-reflection that is essential for healing and growth. Instead of allowing ourselves to sit with our emotions and process them in a healthy way, we suppress them beneath a facade of busyness, creating a cycle of avoidance that perpetuates our suffering.

Moreover, the societal pressure to stay busy can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. We may feel compelled to keep up appearances and maintain a facade of productivity, fearing judgment or criticism if we were to slow down or take time for self-care. This pressure to conform to societal expectations only adds to our emotional burden, further distancing us from our pain and preventing us from seeking the support and connection we truly need.

To break free from the cycle of avoidance and embrace our pain, we must cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness. By learning to sit with our emotions without judgment and allowing ourselves to experience discomfort, we create space for healing and transformation. Seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals can also provide invaluable assistance on our journey toward healing.


While staying occupied may offer temporary relief from emotional pain, it ultimately serves as a barrier to true healing and growth. By acknowledging our pain and allowing ourselves to sit with our emotions, we create the opportunity for genuine healing and transformation. Let us resist the urge to stay busy as a means of avoiding discomfort and instead embrace the courage to confront our pain with honesty and compassion.