For a lot of my adult life I lived in a place of being addicted to my emotions. I loved having experiences that felt like highs particularly in relationships. But then the down moments, when things went wrong, felt dark and unstable. As Nicole Lepera states "Emotional addiction without awareness feels like a roller coaster." As a consequence of living in this state we become drained, exhausted and struggle with concentration.
So how does this happen?
If in childhood we live with parents or other close family members who haven't learnt how to regulate their own emotional states this can have a huge impact on how we can manage our own. Being around somebody who flares up unexpectedly and is oblivious to the impact that has on those around them can cause several reactions. We can become overly vigilant to others' responses and try to do what we need to appease them. We can also develop similar traits ourselves, becoming our emotions. Re-living them through repetitive obsessive thoughts, emotional dumping and looking for experiences or relationships where we can feel the feelings that seem familiar. The body then responds by releasing neurotransmitters and hormonal responses.
Later we can find ourselves in relationships or life circumstances where there always seems to be drama and chaos. We can feel like we are "living a life" because we experience heightened feelings, however these aren't generally positive and can take their toll on the body , leaving us with high cortisol levels, stress and a nervous system that is stuck in fight/flight response. We can be constantly looking for new experiences to maintain the feelings and "normailty" can seem very dull.
How to move past emotional addiction
Its important that we learn to distinguish between the two states of being emotionally regulated and being in the disregulated state. Then we can start to teach the body how it feels to be centered, balanced and safe.
WAYS TO TEACH THE BODY SAFTEY:
1.Activate the Vagus Nerve
Deep breathing daily: deep breathing from the diaphragm can really help us calm the nervous system. This is enhanced by vocal toning. a long sound of ohmmmm directed towards the base of the spine with create resonance and a sense of inner balance.
2. Practice journaling or reciting mantras daily: You can choose a simple mantra such as So Hum or make your own positive one such as “I am safe, I choose peace in each new present moment.” Try saying the mantra out loud 7 times , then whisper 7 times, then silently internalise.
3. Walk: go into nature, feel the air on your face and look at the sky. Breathe deeply and feel the sense of connection.
4. Use a Tibetan bowl daily. The calming sounds will soothe and centre you. Tap gently and breathe out to release any unwanted energy / emotions.
The more you become consciously aware of the patterns and take small action steps, the more you can create new habits and responses that will have a positive impact on your well-being.