Negative feelings are highly addictive for many people. They live in their heads, ruminating over things and feeling awful all day because they lack inspiration in their life. Are you one of these individuals? I know I was, and I still am on some days.
I think that for many people, this is how external addictions begin to flourish – they come from internal emotion-addiction.
Here’s a scenario:
You’re single, but you really want a girlfriend or boyfriend because you feel lonely. You don’t like your job, or you hate your university, or you just don’t see the point of the daily routine you force yourself to go through. So, when you’re back at home, all alone, you run things over in your mind. All the negative situations from the past few days, months or even years. What you didn’t do, what you did wrong, what you should have done, etc… So you create stress, anxiety and/or depression in yourself, just by thinking.
After awhile, you become addicted to those negative emotions. It doesn’t seem logical that somebody can be addicted to negative emotions, but it happens. I have a sense that when people feel empty inside, when they’re lacking the good emotions, or even just some “normal” emotions, they instinctively fill the gap with negativity. It’s not a conscious decision, it’s a habit.
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Now, how do I know this? Let’s just say that after doing it for quite awhile myself, I somehow came to the realization that I was doing it. It’s that simple. If you find yourself reliving the same negative emotions regularly and in different situations, then you’re probably addicted to them.
By consistently creating negative emotions in yourself, day after day, week after week, year after year, you create the conditions that can lead to external addictions as well.
For example, something bad happens to you at university or work. Then you go home and think about it. Now you feel even worse than you did when it happened. So you decide to drink a beer or smoke a cigarette.
The next time something bad happens, you do the same thing.
Eventually, it becomes a pattern.
Negative event – negative thinking – negative emotions – beer and a cigarette to kill the negative emotions. But where is the life in this? Is this living, or is it merely existing?
The good news is that all this can be changed. I’m not going to sit here and claim to give you a magic psychological pill to solve your problems. If I did that, I’d be a lying bastard and I encourage everyone to beware of magic pills, whether chemical or philosophical.They leave out the most important factor – you.
There are many things that can be done to improve situations like the one I just mentioned but the main thing to remember is that you actually have to do something. Otherwise, there’s no hope except false hope.
Read also: 6 Great Tips to Beat Negativity
The key to overcoming emotional addiction and modifying your emotional habit is to cultivate emotional resilience. This includes being aware of your emotions and being able to control them. You give your body a vacation from the chemical fixes it receives from these emotional responses as you break the chains of emotional addiction, allowing natural healing to take place.
I speak with quite a bit of experience here. For quite a few years, I seemed to be living the same day over and over and over again. And how boring it was!
Make a decision
So the first thing you have to do is make a decision to do something and to do it yourself. You can ask for help, you can read books, you can read my articles, but if you don’t do something then you won’t get anywhere. You have to commit to making changes internally.
Understand your pattern
The second thing you have to do is to notice your own patterns. Step back and observe yourself. Patterns are not easy to define – they are the underlying cause and effect chain-link relationships beneath all the phenomena that impact you. That includes your sensations, your emotions, the weather, other people and what they say or do, your surroundings, pollution, whether you exercise or not, what you eat, your thoughts, your beliefs, the images that float around in your mind all day, and many other factors.
Take help from someone you trust
If you have someone in your life you can trust and who is willing to be open and honest with you, ask them for advice. Tell them you’re working on your own development and see if they notice you expressing any particular feeling frequently. Other individuals are able to see what we are unable to recognize in ourselves.
Establish your value and worth
The realization of one’s worth and respect for one’s ideals is a crucial step in recovery. These are two unique elements that the therapist encourages you to write down. “Describe your value, i.e. your assets and the human beauty in you,” on the one hand. “Write down your values, i.e. the important factors that position your actions and choices,” on the other hand.
Read also: 14 Ways to Make Yourself Feel Happier
These two polls serve as beacons that shine a light on “the person who the emotional junkie aspires to be.” During the compensating relationship, the person concerned notes all he or she has given up, all the concessions he or she has accepted, and all the resignations he or she has felt.
Break your pattern
The third thing you have is to learn how to break the pattern and to do it consistently. Eventually, the negative habits atrophy and new ones take their place. Of course, this is not easy if you’ve been conditioning yourself into negative patterns for years. But I definitely know that it’s possible, because I did it myself. It’s a struggle. Every day is a new day of struggle to overcome your past “self.” You have to find the fighting spirit inside yourself to help you carry on and conquer negativity.
So how do we break the negative patterns and emotional addictions? Here are a few ideas. I’m going to them in more depth in other articles on my site:
This is what I consider to be the greatest form of “meditation.” Tai chi is a form of neigong. The term neigong is Chinese, of course, and it means “internal work.” It includes breathing, strengthening and relaxing movements, feeling your own body and emotions more deeply, and so on… Chinese neigong is what I recommend above all, but any type of meditative practice can be beneficial. Especially anything that will allow you to “let go.”
Any type of vigorous exercise can help us to change our internal state. So when you feel that you’re getting into a negative loop, get off your ass and do something vigorous. Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference. Sometimes I just find whatever is lying around the place where I’m at to use. Last time I exercised by lifting two 4 liter tubs of fabric softener. There were no dumbells around, so why not?
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NLP for short. This is just a way of looking at your own thoughts – it gives you a way to analyze and organize them. It’s not for everybody, but it can definitely be useful.
Going out socializing or going to some event and not doing it alone, of course. This can get your mind off things. Sometimes what we need is new people in our lives, and not the same people who made us negative in the first place.
Eliminate your negative anchors
What this means is to stop doing the activities that put you into the states you don’t want to be in. One great example is to turn off the TV and to get off the couch.
If you make a habit of eating dinner and then sitting on the couch to watch TV, what can you expect? You can expect to have the same thoughts you had last time you sat on the same couch and watched TV. The couch becomes an anchor that pulls down your mood. Eventually, just sitting down will get you moving to the dark side.
Try all of the above, try different ones at different times, try out your own ideas. And do them often. One of my favorite books, the Tao Te Ching, says that “a giant tree grows from a tiny sprout.” Isn’t it true! We all have to start somewhere on the road to self-actualization.
I’d like to end this post with some questions that might get you thinking differently for the rest of the day – What do you tell yourself all day? What do you think about yourself? What words do you use to describe yourself? How do you imagine your future? How did you become who you are? How would you be different if you made changes now? Would your life be happier or sadder?