Letting go of addictions that squash our emotions

Carrie JordanHealth & Beauty

Our society is addicted to sugar, coffee, TV, the internet, food, shopping, our phones, and lots of other things. We squelch and squash our emotions back into our bodies by self-medicating with our addictions, avoiding our feelings and our lives. Even if you let go of one of these, another one will pop up to replace it. Avoidance and addictions are tricky like that.

How many times have you had a beer or wine at the end of the day to unwind; melted into the couch watching TV or staring at the computer screen; eaten sugary foods to relieve stress; checked your phone to avoid feeling bored or frustrated while in line at the grocery store? This is neither good, nor bad—it is just a way of coping. But what if there were another, perhaps healthier way, to deal with when you don’t feel so great? For example, what would it be like to exercise, dance, sing, or yell to let stress and frustration out of your body? Or if you’re in a place where you can’t do that—to smudge, or sweep off the stuck energy?

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Here is an example: About a month ago I was going to meet my boyfriend for a meal after work. I hate driving and traffic, and Seattle has terrible traffic. When I arrived at our meeting place, I was not in a good mood after driving around the city. I got out of the car to pay the parking meter and none of the meters in the vicinity were working. I was SO frustrated. Alex walked up to greet me and I stormed away yelling “NONE OF THESE WORK!” I got back in the car and burst into tears. Then I screamed into my balled up jacket. Then I was ready to go on our date. (Poor guy, right?)

No, I didn’t “deal” with my emotions well in this case. Maybe it would be more socially acceptable if I had dealt with the parking and the meters, and acted normal, and walked into the restaurant, sat down, and said, “I need a drink!” But I didn’t do that. And I’m glad I didn’t, because after I released all that negativity, I felt fine—actually I felt great. Much better than I would have felt if I had just carried on without releasing my anger and frustration. I was able to enjoy our date and laugh about how silly the outburst was. Obviously in this case I was off the clock and with a person in my circle of intimacy. If I were in another place and time with other company, it would be a different story, but either way it is important to let the emotions out of the body in order to feel relief from them.

What if we decided to address feelings that come up instead of squashing them? What if we decided to examine feelings and then swim through them and let them wash over us like a wave that leaves us refreshed?

What addiction do you turn to in order to avoid what’s happening or what you are feeling?

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