As I understand it, there are two primary camps in "prepared childbirth". By far the most-used has to be the LaMaze method, which emphasizes distraction from discomfort. Through breathing and focal points, the woman diverts her attention from labor discomfort. Even the term - "discomfort" instead of "pain" - is a diversion, a distraction. The Bradley method emphasizes essentially being one with the pain, going into it.
These two methods seem like opposites but I suspect they accomplish the same thing physically. They cause us to slow down our responses, to relax.
I use distraction when I hike. I bring a camera with me and stop to take pictures. My focus is on what I see through the viewfinder and away from my knees. While I hike I am always looking around for possible photo opps, which is also distracting.
When I do other types of walks, like the one to Marigold, I try to distract myself by reading a book. This isn't all that successful. Reading isn't all that conducive to walking, or I should say walking isn't all that conducive to reading. I have to keep an eye out for things I might stumble over and cars that might run me over.
What I have found to be remarkably effective is listening to podcasts on my ipod shuffle. The Shuffle is so small and light I can clip it to whatever I am wearing. There is no fiddling with numerous controls, either, as there are very few of them. I download free podcasts from iTunes, along with the occasional paid tune or paid book.
Some of my favorites are "The Ethicist" and "LSAT Logic in Everyday Life". These titles certainly reveal where some of my interests lie. These podcasts are short analyses of everyday situations or issues that arise in the news, from ethical and logical standpoints. As I am naturally logical, really logical, mathematically and philosophically logical, and because I have a strong ethical component, these podcasts are enlightening and entertaining to me. I think, too, that because they are spoken words they tend to be more distracting than music would be. I am paying attention on what comes next, what the argument is, how the reasoning goes. I believe that takes more focus than music usually does.
Today I walked up to Staples and back, certainly more than a 30-minute walk, and on concrete, and I did not rely on many stops for rests. I was able to plunge forward with the aid of the shuffle and it even seems like my knees feel less pain as a result.