Do you have a favorite escape? A coping mechanism so you don't have to feel? Have you ever thought about it? Just so you know.... we all do this! When we are feeling some negative emotion, we find a way to cope by doing something else so we don't have to feel it. Let me give some examples to illustrate this. So for example, you are home alone on a Friday night and you don't have any plans. Maybe you are feeling lonely and you're thinking "My life is so lame!" Well we don't like to feel lonely. It isn't very comfortable for us so we find something else that will cover that emotion. So what do we do? We go to Netflix and watch episode after episode so we don't have to feel lonely. Another example, maybe we are feeling overwhelmed with a school project that we don't want to do. So instead of just getting it done, we find something else that is "important", like doing our laundry, so we don't have to get started and feel overwhelmed. And the last example is something so many of us do. When we are feeling bored with life, we head to the fridge, or to the chocolate we hide in our closet, or to the cookie store etc. So that we don't have to feel bored, we escape that by eating which makes us feel better for the moment, but then it comes back. And this could explain why people go to eating, or shopping, or social media, or porn, or drugs. We are escaping our feelings so we don't have to feel bad. Isn't that interesting?
So when we have a negative emotion we do 1 of 3 things. The first is, we resist the emotion by pretending we don't feel it. This might look like pretending we are happy so we don't have to feel lonely. The second is reacting. So when we feel a negative emotion like frustration, we yell or lash out. So instead of feeling frustrated we add to it by yelling and we believe that we will feel better if we just get it out. And the last way is avoiding negative emotions. This is where we go to food, or Netflix, or social media so we avoid feeling anything negative.
But why do we do this? Because we hate feeling bad. But is life just supposed to feel happy all the time? How would we even know what happy is if we felt it all the time? When we have bad days, then we recognize a good day when we see it. So part of life is understanding that life is 50/50. You'll have good days and bad days. You'll have times you are sad or mad or frustrated, or happy or joyful or calm. And when you feel sad, just feel sad. Pay attention to what sad feels like. Do your shoulders sag? Does your stomach hurt? Do you want to cry? Then cry. Why? Because when you resist or avoid these emotions, they actually get worse! Something like being afraid, if you avoid it, it grows and can turn into something more like anxiety. So when you feel sad, just feel sad. And when you do that, it actually makes you feel better. Acknowledge it, process it, and then it dissipates. Try it! It really does work!
If you are struggling and avoiding feeling anything negative, come talk to me in a free 30 minute mini session. Go to directyourlifecoaching.com and click on mini session. We can discuss what your coping mechanisms are and how to allow to feel any emotion instead of trying to push them away. You'll see big changes when you do!