I've got a spinal injury which causes chronic pain and one of the experts I see is a mental healthy counselor to deal with the depression associated with that chronic pain (chronic pain usually occurs with depression). I don't say that for sympathy, but so that you've got a context for the following. My counselor gave me a new trick to try to kind of stop a pain spiral (ie. when an increase in pain leads to an increase in depression and stress which leads to an increase in pain, etc.). He said to try to name as many X as possible within a minute. "X" can be 'flowers', 'states west of the Mississippi', 'countries east of Germany', etc. As I try to come up with the next item on the list, my brain becomes more and more focused on trying to think of that item. It shifts my brain away from my pain. I told him I'd try to use it in coming up with charater traits or plot points or something else in one of my stories and he said that was a great idea. So, that's what I'm offering. If you suffer from chronic pain or anxiety or something else that ends up distracting you, try to take a minute and come up with items on a list related to your story (ex. character traits). You'll find it's very helpful. Are there other writing exercises you've found help you deal with something in your life?