Have you ever found yourself caught up in a negative emotion that you can’t shake off? Many people have addictions to the neuro-chemicals of certain types of emotions. In this episode we’ll look at 4 steps to grow out of that addiction so you can generate the kind of emotions that fuel your life instead of drain it.
2:00 – Why it’s so important to be able to change your emotions at will
5:35 – The different ways people suppress emotions
8:40– The 4-step process to properly digest emotions and turn them into fuel
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This is episode 53 — Addictive Emotions and How to Grow Out of Them. Have you ever noticed you tend to get caught up in a certain kind of negative emotion like worrying, overwhelm, bitterness, confused or hopelessness. Others you know don’t necessarily have an addiction to the same emotion as you, but they have another one going on. In this episode we’ll look at 4 steps to grow out of that addiction so you can generate the kind of feelings that manifest the life you truly want. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and you’re listening to the Mindstory Speaker podcast for influencers who speak live or online to build their business.
Most of us have addictions to certain negative emotions. We actually subconsciously will create situations to generate that particular emotion because we’re addicted to the neuro-chemicals they create in our bodies. Now let’s differentiate here between physical sensations also sometimes called feelings, and emotions which are neuro-chemical reactions also sometimes called feelings. Both are vibrations.
So being hungry or sick or hot or cold is a physical feeling. That’s a sensation that is involuntary and it starts somewhere in our body and then goes up to our mind. But an emotional feeling that I’m talking about here, is starts with a thought, interpretation or belief and ends up being felt in various parts of the body. Some researchers now say that there are brain cells in our gut, in our heart, in our hands, etc. not just in our brains. But wherever they originate, emotions are created by our interpretations of life which create a sensation in our body and a neurochemical soup.
The reason that your emotions are so important is that they drive your actions which create certain circumstances in your life, for good or for bad. And they’re why we do or don’t do every single thing in our life, because of how we think it will make us feel or not feel. Humans, of course have a variety of emotions that are negative and positive and everything in between. That’s a good thing. It creates contrast and variety, like having a full pallet of colors as an artist. Just as you wouldn’t understand what white is without knowing the color black, you also wouldn’t understand curiosity without knowing indifference, or patience without having experienced impatience.
But, that said, we’re programmed to seek positive emotions and avoid negative emotions. It’s part of our survival brain programming. Seek love and avoid hate. Seek contentment, avoid discontentment. Yet, many of us find ourselves looping on negative emotions and fighting with ourselves about it. That’s where we need to zoom out and see the bigger picture, and ask that age old question, “What is the purpose of life?” Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion on that, but I do find the philosophy you choose on this subject can make a big difference. One answer to that question when I was growing up was — To be happy. I grew up thinking I saw supposed to be happy all the time, and I wasn’t. That meant something was wrong with me. My parents would say – we just want you to be happy. Sometimes I was happy, but a lot of the time I wasn’t. It was never a consistent feeling. Over the years, I came to realize that most people also had that experience…trying to be happy and failing at it. And when you think that way it means any emotion that isn’t like happiness must be banned, which creates a pendulum effect. By banning unhappiness I built it up in my subconscious, in my body. I suppressed it, and so then it grew and became a sensation that owned me. I disowned it, so gave it the power to own me. I remember having that epiphany when I was studying comedy. All the incredibly funny teachers I studied with, who were amazing at bringing joy to others, seemed to have a cloud of depression, despair, and unacknowledged unhappiness around them.
So, another response to the question “What is the purpose of life?” could be …to be human. When I changed to that, everything changed for the better. So, it’s where the goal in life isn’t to be happy all the time. The goal in life is to have the human experience. And with that comes a wide palette of emotions. That gave me the permission to bring a variety of emotions to the forefront, rather than suppress them in some way. People suppress emotions in a variety of ways, I’ve done them all. The 1st one, we fight with them. We have an inner war where one part of the personality is trying to dominate the other, bullying yourself to stop the negative emotions. A 2nd way is an outer war whereby you throw the emotion outside you. You see this in young children, and sometimes adults for that matter. It might look like a temper tantrum, slamming a door, or overdramatizing things. You kind of freak out about things. The 3rd is to disassociate and maybe project it onto someone else. It’s where you might be highly judgmental of someone who is expressing any emotion. But you’re not openly projecting onto them, you hold yourself at arms length, seeing yourself as above them. It’s often an intellectual response to life where you have an aloof indifference to things that would normally cause a human to feel something – good or bad – like the death of a beloved pet, or a winning a big contract you wanted. So a kind of numbness where Life is rather monotone as opposed to animated. The 4th way is escaping the emotion, where you’re trying to dull them down, distract ourselves, so as not feel those sensations and neurochemicals. And that’s the typical addictive behavior, whether it be overeating, drugs, drinking, porn, shopping, shows on TV, overworking, over caffeinating.
All of those responses only have short term benefits, and long term negative consequences. All of them block your desired results in life. A fifth option, which I believe is the natural, healthy human response to life is to accept and digest our feelings. When you don’t properly digest your feelings you tend to get emotional indigestion, which can lead to actual indigestion. Emotions get stuck in the digestive tract, and that’s why so many people who avoid dealing with emotions have digestive issues.
At some point it helps to admit that there’s no way around a negative emotion. The best way is just to go through it and learn how to digest it. And in the digestion process, your system sorts the nutrition from the non-nutritive elements of the emotion and the emotions become fuel for growth. If you don’t digest then you can become malnourished as a human, and become stunted emotionally, which leads to stunting in many areas of life.
So here are 4 steps to digest emotions. The 1st step is to acknowledge them. For example, let’s use worry. I came from a family where you weren’t allowed to worry, or feel afraid. That was looked down on. As a result, we were all in a perpetual state of unprocessed fear. So, you can think about the patterns you grew up with. What were the emotion you weren’t supposed to feel? By acknowledging an emotion you were taught not to experience, it’s like letting a bad child out of their room after them being grounded. You’re allowing this part of you to rejoin the family. You accept this part and give it unconditional understanding and love. Not for it to run amuck and cause a temper tantrum, but to be curious and open to what this emotion has to teach you, what is it’s gift in your life?
The 2nd step, is to find it in your body. For example, I often feel worry in my solar plexus, like a knot in my stomach. You can also add other descriptions like size, weight, color, or even a metaphor or character. With me it feels sort of like the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoon stuck in a holding cell. Where is it and what is it for you?
Okay. So then the 3rd step is to relax into the emotion. So, it’s like you’re saying “it’s okay, Tazmanian Devil here we are right now, come on out of the cell, be who you are.” It’s part of my human experience. So you’re no longer fighting with it, you’re letting it be. What you resist persists, so when you take away the resistance, it paradoxically lowers the intensity of the emotion.
The 4th step is to accept it until it diminishes.
So, it’s the natural alchemical process we as humans are meant to go through, and so it breaks us free from a pattern of stuckness whereby our system relies on the neurochemicals of negative emotions to function. We now rely on the neuro-chemical balance of positive emotions in our bodies, which help us evolve rather than devolve.
It creates a wholesome system whereby we use fear as fuel, or anger as fuel or grief as fuel or defeat as fuel or whatever is the negative emotion…and it’s needed as the raw material that gets transformed into the next creative reinvention in your life…big or small. In fact in Episode 47 I get into a lot of detail about how to use fear as fuel.
This perspective alone can help you accept, digest and transform negative emotions into fuel for growth…knowing that you stunt your growth if you don’t…knowing that it’s often the storm before the calm. In fact, you can start to trace this…because periods of great creative insights, new ideas, new growth are almost always preceded by darkness, of negative emotions, of challenge and hardship. It’s like you can’t have one without the other. So, the next time you’re going through a hard time, expect that you will soon be coming up the roller coaster ride again and experiencing a upswing in your life. It’s the necessary first step to positive growth. So, the less you resist it, the more you just go with it, the quicker you get there.
These steps, by the way, are based on the beginning of the powerful AVARA model featured in our book, MindStory Inner Coach. If you’d like a deeper way to process negative emotions, the AVARA model can help you break free of anything, anytime, anywhere, very quickly. For a limited time we’re offering this book for free on our website: MindStoryAcademy.com. You’ll also see the free book link in the show notes. Along with the book, you also get two short guided audios that are called neuro-blueprints. They are a form of mental rehearsal that opens up communication between your conscious and subconscious mind to deepen your ability to transform and digest emotion. One is called how to end self sabotage, it’s one you would use at night. The other is called your hero’s journey, which is about reframing the challenges of your life in terms of a mythic adventure and how those challenges have forged you in the fire of wisdom to now help others. Sometimes that’s hard to see until you do a process like this. And this is a version you would do in the morning. These take chapters 2 and 10 of the book to a much deeper level. All together, the audios and the book come to $94 but you can get them free right now.
Also, we’re looking for more speakers and coaches who want to learn to use the MindStory Method. We teach you these kinds of tools to use in your business or job or to help you get a job. If you’re interested, check out our certification tab at MindstoryAcademy.com. It’s where we train you how to make extra income or even your next million working online, from the comfort of your own home, living from anywhere making a huge difference while making a great living speaking, teaching and coaching others to become masters of their own mind…one of the most important things you could ever be doing at this time in history.
So that’s it for today…Do post a review of this podcast if you like it – on iTunes or youTube or wherever you listen. It makes a big difference to helping others find out about it.
I hope that was helpful. Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger, thanks for listening.