A friend of mine had to get a new car. His lease was up. He had bad credit and was self-employed with little to show for a regular income. His dad had agreed to be a co-signer on the lease for the first car, but he wasn’t going to do it again. When I asked my friend: “How’s it going with finding a new car?” He said he was terrified, nervous, overwhelmed, and freaked about the whole process of trying to buy a new car. I could understand his concern, but was there really the need for such internal melodrama?
We as humans have the tendency to make giant mountains out of little molehills. We look at life’s challenges as “problems” and live in them rather than living in the solution. We put so much focus on this alleged problem with tunnel vision, that we can’t see the solution, nor can we take a step back and be grateful for all of the good in our lives. It becomes the only thing that exists.
By why is this so? Why can’t we just “be happy” and know that things always have a funny way of working themselves out? Because our brains aren’t built that way. Our brains are built for survival. In its constant effort to protect us from the unknown, it inadvertently causes us to remain focused on the thing it perceives as harming us. It’s like a gazelle being chased by a lion. Its mind is 100% focused on getting away from that lion. It’s not even taking half a second to pause to appreciate the scenery through which it is running, lest it become dinner for the pride.
Our human brains work in a similar fashion. We take on the negative aspect of something much easier than we would the positive aspect because the brain wants to take on the perceived threat and try to work out a solution. When there is a problem, it goes into survival mode and creates the fight, flight, or freeze response. This is our brain’s way of dealing with the stress and the feeling of (somehow)being threatened. When you’re constantly living in survival mode, you end up selecting the worst possible outcomes. You emotionally embrace those outcomes with fear, worry, and overwhelm. Do this enough times, and you end up conditioning your body into a state of fear.
“Most people spend 70% of their lives living in survival and living in stress, so they’re always anticipating the worst case scenario.” — Dr. Joe Dispenza.
Where you place your attention is where you place your energy. Emotion is simply energy in motion.
According to Dr. Dispenza: Our bodies actually become addicted to those negative emotions because those stressful emotions create adrenalin. When the body gets a rush of adrenalin and energy, and the brain and body becomes aroused, people can become addicted to that rush of adrenalin, and they use the problems and conditions in their life to reaffirm their addiction to that emotion.
This is why certain people complain all the time and always seem to have problems. They are constantly venting about them to whoever will listen and posting about them on social media. They need the bad job or the horrible boss, the toxic relationship, the constant health problems, or the difficult situation because it makes them feel something. The barrage of sympathy and sad emojis from their audience only affirms their emotions. God forbid they feel nothing. They live in a constant state of stress, depression, or discontent.
So if the hormones of stress are highly addictive, and people are using the conditions in their lives to reaffirm their addictions, they have no true desire to find the solution. They say they do, but on a deeper subconscious level, they really don’t. They are adrenaline junkies. If all of their problems were solved, to them, life would be boring. The constant pity party would be over, and they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.
My friend was able to get a brand new car without the need of a co-signer. All of that worry and fear was for nothing. However, he’s on to his next set of worries. He is so accustomed to that state of being that once the one problem was solved, he went onto the next. He can’t simply be happy and grateful for the fact that he just got s brand new car when so many people don’t have that luxury.
It takes a complete reprogramming of your mind to let go of those addictions. That certainly isn’t easy. Look at how many people fall off the proverbial wagon when it comes to substance abuse, food addiction, or continually go back into that unhealthy relationship?
“The hardest part about change is not making the same choices you did the day before. The moment you decide to make a different choice, get ready because it’s going to feel uncomfortable.” — Dr. Joe Dispenza
Indeed it is. When I read about this whole concept of emotional addiction in his book “Being Supernatural”, I had a mind-blowing experience. I’ve never thought of myself as depressed or addicted to negative emotions. Quite the contrary. I run from drama like that gazelle, but when I started digging deep and really thinking about it, I was indeed addicted to certain negative emotions. They gave me a twisted sense of satisfaction. I was living with the lie that these negative emotions were somehow helping or protecting me; that they were necessary. I felt like if I gave up the negative emotion around a certain unfortunate condition or situation in my life, then I was being uninvolved and didn’t really care about the situation, and therefore, it wasn’t going to get solved. I would feel guilty about letting it go as if I had to be stressed, uncertain, worried, and frustrated about it in order for it to be resolved.
When the lightbulb went off, I saw very clearly how I was allowing certain negative emotions to affect my life, health, finances, and relationships. The key to change is knowing, accepting, deciding, and creating a plan of action. I now knew it. I accepted it. I decided to change it, so what was my plan?
I’ll give it to you here my friends because I have no doubt that if you’re reading this, you too may have that lightbulb going off.
- Become aware. What do you find yourself frequently complaining about? What’s going on when those emotions arise - when you can feel them in your solar plexus — in the pit of your gut? Is there a pattern? Take note when you feel those emotions and analyze what’s going on when they come up. Is it something within you (health or finances), or is it something relating to someone else (partner, friend, boss)? Perform a complete system analysis when you start to feel these emotions so you can understand the triggers and why you hang onto them.
- Overcome the emotions of survival to which you’ve become addicted. If you were addicted to cigarettes or alcohol, you would need to stop smoking or drinking to overcome the addiction. But it’s not as easy as denying yourself that drink or cigarette; it’s embodying the life of a nonsmoker or nondrinker. Likewise, if you’re in an addictive toxic relationship, it’s more than just breaking up with the person because you’ll probably go back. You have to decide that those emotions associated with the constant drama are no longer allowed in your life. You need to feel what it’s like to not have it and become a person who doesn’t live in that constant state of survival.
- Be the guardian of your well-being. When you begin to feel those addictive negative emotions, recognize them and cut them off at the pass. Nip them in the bud before they start to grab hold of you. You are the gatekeeper of your well-being. Close the gate on them and don’t let them pass.
- Choose to feel higher frequency emotions. When you’ve decided that you are no longer going to allow those negative emotions to gain a chemical foothold on your biological make-up, it’s time to replace those emotions with higher level emotions such as love, gratitude, joy, inspiration, and compassion. If you can’t seem to get “there” simply ask yourself: “What does joy / gratitude/ love / inspiration/ compassion feel like?” Maybe break out your journal and write that question at the top of the page and start writing. If you can hold onto that higher level emotion for 5–10 minutes a day, you are well on your way to improving your overall state of being. The more you do this when applying #3 above, the sooner you will have released yourself from the chains of your emotional addictions.
- Meditate. I know that it’s often very difficult to just switch gears and suddenly make the leap from anger, guilt, frustration, etc. to joy and gratitude. This is where meditation comes in, preferably a Joe Dispenza guided mediation. You can find them on YouTube or on his web site. But, any immersive guided meditation, which prompts you to feel these higher emotions will do.
- Have a mantra. When I see negative emotions creep in, I immediately say “thank you” either out loud or silently. This immediately puts me in a state of gratitude. I may have to say thank you 5, 6, 17 times, but as long as I keep saying it and keep my focus off of the thing that has agitated me, then I am already on the path to feeling better. When I combine the words with the actual emotion of gratitude, then I have reached a higher plain. I am then reprogramming my body to live in a state of gratitude rather than a state of fear, stress, and unrest.
To compare the process of reprogramming your emotions to the process of losing weight, for example: When you want to lose weight, you decide to stop eating the fattening, high calorie, unhealthy foods and start eating healthier foods that are lower in calories, salt, fat, or what have you (depending upon the diet). When you accept that it’s going to suck at first, but you know this is exactly what you need to do to lose weight, it gets easier. Sure you may fall off the horse, but get right back on it. Keep practicing it, keep living it and soon enough you will have achieved your desired weight.
It’s no different when you decide to end the addiction to negative emotions. When you start to feel that negative emotion (piece of triple layer chocolate cake), go for the positive one (kale salad with poached salmon on top). Sure the cake tastes better. Who doesn’t love cake? But, if eating it means you will continue in the downward spiral of unhappiness, anxiety, and discontent, then it’s not worth it. Pick the kale.
We all truly do have the ability to create and live our best lives. It’s a part of our chemical and genetic make-up. All we have to do is know, accept, decide, and create a plan of action.
You got this my friend. And as always, I’m here to help.