“If I journal, then I have to THINK about my husband having an affair,” stated my client flatly. “Why would I want to do that?”
That may sound a bit silly to you, but as human beings we are always finding distractions from our issues that need attention or problem solving. How many of these do YOU do?
- Work: feeling centered only when working or accomplishing
- Sex: hiding from uncomfortable feelings through compulsive sexual behavior
- Television: avoiding discomfort by watching TV for hours on end, every day
- Drugs/Alcohol: “I need it to relax” translates “I don’t have to think about changing or feel the pain that would push me to do so”
- Tobacco: using nicotine and the act of smoking to calm yourself
- Tasks: volunteer or otherwise: needing to stay compulsively active with endless tasks or conversations
- Rage: only feeling OK after venting anxiety and anger inappropriately
- Exercise: using exercise compulsively to seek control or avoid emotions
- Adrenaline: using risky behavior as a form of mood altering
- Food: eating compulsively for comfort or reward
- Hoarding: collecting and saving items endlessly
- Shopping: purchasing an item based on the idea that it will bring comfort, or seeking comfort in the act of buying
- Cleaning: cleaning endlessly in order to avoid stillness, which might bring attention to anxiety or other uncomfortable emotions. It’s also a way to seek control when feeling your life doesn’t have any
- Spirituality: becoming absorbed and/or obsessed in spiritual or religious ideas as a way of hiding from uncomfortable emotions*
The problem is that when we resist an emotion, trying not to feel what we are feeling, we tighten muscles around the areas in our bodies where we feel the emotion. This keeps it trapped there instead of letting it flow through naturally.
Are you ready to stop and pay attention to your life? I am your best guide to do so. Let’s get started!
*Adapted from Present Moment Awareness by S. Duncan