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The word "distraction" has generally negative or frivolous connotations, but shifting your mental focus can often be positive (you go on a walk and solve the hard problem, you spend a few days away from the office and you gain a new perspective, etc.).

You should get away from it all, that will [insert the word] you.

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What's meant by tk? – Kit Aug 15 '11 at 0:25
@Kit It was the placeholder for the word the OP is looking for. – kiamlaluno Aug 15 '11 at 2:47
@kiamlaluno, I see. Just found out it means "to come". – Kit Aug 15 '11 at 3:00
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think "diversion" pretty much does what you want. But I agree that 'distraction' really shouldn't have a negative connotation. But it does and there's nothing we can do about that.

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Actually it has both a negative and a positive one, it depends on the context where you use it. – Alenanno Aug 15 '11 at 8:51

The word is exactly the same: distraction.

Starting from the verb to distract, there is one of its meanings where the verb gets the acception you meant, becoming reflexive though (to distract oneself). The definition is this one:

Divert one's attention from something worrying or unpleasant by doing something different or more pleasurable.

Same goes for the noun, distraction:

A diversion or recreation: There are plenty of distractions such as sailing.

In this case, distraction means something like "take a break from what stresses you". Hope this answers your doubts.

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@downvoter: if you ever see this comment, would you please write the reason(s) for downvoting? It'd be nice to know, thanks! – Alenanno Aug 15 '11 at 9:42

In the example sentence you give, I might put clear your mind. But I agree with Alenanno's answer in general.

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Well the first one sounds like "breaking" - as in "taking a break." Going on a walk is a break.

But the second one ("go away for a few days and gain a new perspective") sounds clearly to me like vacationing (literally "The action of leaving something one previously occupied"). In other words, leave it and do something else - I've heard terms such as "put it on the backburner" but I don't have a single word for it.

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I don't know how "positive" could be defined in this case, but there are several words for "distraction" that is "positive".




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Recreation is a fine term for positive distractions I would daresay.


rec·re·a·tion (rĕk′rē-ā′shən) n.

  1. Refreshment of one's mind or body after work through activity that amuses or stimulates; play.

  2. An activity that provides such refreshment.

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