We are taught to feel and accept our emotions, but what happens when your emotions become an addiction?
This concept is quite strange in the psychology system that is based on the analysis of emotions. people with emotional addiction they would subconsciously set up situations where they would experience them despite wanting to change.
The chemical cocktail of human emotion
Emotions start with a thought. We have too many thoughts in a day to even count them, but most of these thoughts are habitual. We have them day in and day out, and since we have not created a separation of thoughts, we assign meaning to those thoughts by assuming they are true.
It is the assigned meaning of the thoughts that make up our emotions. When we feel this emotion, there is a cellular change in the body. Neurotransmitters are released and the physiology of the body changes. As our physiology changes, neural pathways in the brain fire and connect in response.
Feeling and reacting habitually strengthens the neural pathways that will make us unconsciously seek out the same emotion. An emotional addiction is when the body becomes dependent on our own chemical responses.
This cycle changes the reward center of the brain
Even if the emotion makes us feel miserable, the rush of neurotransmitters is a reward.
Addiction usually means being addicted to an external substance or behavior (such as the addition of food or sex), but it is also possible to be addicted to our own internal chemical cocktails.
Most people who struggle with any type of addiction are aware, at least on some level, of the problems their addiction causes them. emotional addiction it is different because we are living and breathing the emotional experience so closely that it is literally beyond our grasp of consciousness.
How to break our emotional addictions
For break emotional addiction you have to become aware of your own patterns.
Become aware of your “hit” emotion
If a light bulb has gone out and you realize you have an emotional addiction, it will be easy for you to identify your “hit” emotion. If something has stirred within you but you can’t place which emotion you feel in cycles, it will take a little more work to identify the “hit” emotion.
Here are some easy steps to get started:
Observe and set the intention to observe your emotions
While this sounds simple, it’s actually very difficult because we rarely look at our emotions before responding to them. You may think you don’t have an emotional addiction because it seems like it’s just part of “you”.
Put reminders on your phone and write this intention in a journal. Doing this will help you become aware of the subconscious. See how you feel in everyday situations while browsing Instagram, at work or when talking with friends. Notice any patterns and write them down. These can give you clues about your hit emotion.
Ask for the opinion of someone you trust
through vulnerability we obtain information. If you have someone in your life who you trust and who is willing to be open and honest with you, ask them if they would give you their opinion. Tell them you’re doing personal development work and see if they find you in any particular emotion most of the time. Other people can see what we cannot see in ourselves.
Commit to a daily 5-minute meditation
For 30 days, commit to doing 5 minutes of meditation no matter what. Observe the feelings and emotions that arise when trying to observe your thoughts. They will give you valuable information about the loops in your thoughts that trigger the emotion.
As you can see, this will require a lot of work and commitment. Emotional addictions take decades to develop and will require you to do a lot of self-reflection. Once you have identified the emotion of the “hit”, you are ready to move on.
It is worth noting that this is not a place to stay. When you find out what the emotion is, you will feel many other emotions around this. A lot of embarrassment can arise because you weren’t aware of your own behavior. Practice compassion and understand that any behavior can be changed with intention. Go ahead and have gratitude for this awareness.
Rewire the brain’s reward system
Here are some easy steps to get started:
Focus on nutrition
The brain is an energy-demanding organ that constantly creates new pathways, regenerates cells, and activates and connects neurons countless times a day. The brain is mostly fat and is in constant communication with the gut through the gut-brain axis. Since neurotransmitters like serotonin are produced primarily in the gut, food becomes the best therapy for a healthy brain.
When you’re working on a new habit, it’s important to give your brain proper nutrition to support the process. This means cutting out processed foods, sugar, gluten, and replacing them with nutrient-dense ancient foods like meats, vegetables (especially fermented vegetables), kefir, grass-fed butter, eggs, and dairy if you tolerate them well.
When you know your “hit” emotion, you can use affirmations to change the neural pathways in your brain. Commit to doing daily affirmations and be patient. While this can be done, it takes time. The morning is the best time to do them because the mind is in a relaxed state.
Before bed is another, so find the time that works best for you. Never try to do this in a period of stress. During the day, when you feel your emotions rising, use this mantra silently each time. As the mind adjusts, you will find that your “hit” emotion comes up less and less.
Let’s say your emotional addiction is to anger. Peace is the emotion you want to use to break the cycle of anger. An affirmation for this would be “I am peace. I choose peace. I control my emotions in any given situation, and my basic emotion is peace.”
Deliberately feel peace throughout the body. Imagine what peace feels like. This is the most important part. If you can think it and feel it in your body it is as if it were already true. This is where affirmations gain their power to bring about real change.
The brain is neuroplastic, which means that it can create new pathways based on conscious behavior at any time in life. While this is fascinating and hopeful, it’s important to be realistic that it takes a lot of work.
The mind always favors familiarity and will protest when you try to change neural connectivity. For this reason, it is important to take small blocks of time to do this work. If you do too much at once, your brain will tire quickly.
Subconscious reprogramming will only work when the brain is rested and relaxed. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Slowly, over time, the brain will gain tolerance to these new activities if it is not overloaded with stimuli.
Freeing yourself from the chains of emotional addiction will not only create happiness, it will also create bodily health. Allowing your body to rest from these chemical “arrangements” will allow its natural physiological healing processes or homeostasis to take place. You will begin to see not only emotional benefits but also physical ones as you regain your natural balances.