Category: Emotions

Help! I can’t stop my Bad Habits

When Eating, Drinking and other behaviours become Bad Habits

Sometimes the normal, healthy behaviours we engage in every day become out of control default behaviours, creating problems such as stress and anxiety. Unhealthy habits can be sneaky, starting with an innocent ‘reward’ for having a bad day and leading to becoming the ‘go to’ in an attempt to make yourself feel better. When this happens you can feel powerless to stop it.

Bad Habits and Inner Demons

Common Bad Habits:

  • Eating too much, or not at all
  • Watching TV or movies
  • Checking Facebook, email or surfing
  • Alcohol, smoking or drugs/medication
  • Ranting to friends, gossiping
  • Shopping
  • Work, Exercise, Sleep, Sex

In some cases, daily behaviours become default behaviours and bad habits that you use as a way to cope and distract yourself from feeling the underlying stress and anxiety. It may be your reward or ‘go to’ you’ve done all your life or it may be something new. Chances are you’ve done ‘something’ all your life to avoid feeling.  That’s what these default behaviours are for, to numb and comfort so you don’t feel the upset or hurt underneath. When you try to alter the behaviour, you are not getting to the root cause: your feelings. The feeling underneath may have started innocently but became huge and menacing after being hidden and avoided for so long.

Clients will often share that if they start crying they’ll never stop, or they fear if they let the sadness come out they’ll fall into depression like a deep hole. The feeling has become big and ominous. I’ve heard others call it their Inner Demons. However, the truth is that feelings are feelings, and the menacing monster was created using your own imagination.

Facing the Feelings

The FIRST STEP is to recognize that your behaviours are causing a problem, (often it feels like “Help I can’t stop”when some behaviour is out of control) and that you desire a different experience (feeling calm, at peace and in control). Much like a personal goal, this recognition can help you when things get tough.

I feel …

Now I want to feel…

The SECOND STEP involves manifesting that goal feeling in your body. When did you experience that feeling (sharing with someone special, at a performance or receiving praise and acknowledgement)? Where do you experience that feeling? For example you may want peace, and peace feels like a warm sensation around your heart and chest; relief may feel like lightness in your shoulders. Create a habit of breathing and recreating this feeling every day. Eventually this becomes normal, and you recognize the stressful feelings sooner before they cause problems.

The THIRD STEP occurs when you catch yourself engaging in some of these unwanted behaviours. Create some space between your stress or anxiety, and the default behaviour. When you recognize you are stressed, breathe and give yourself a moment to feel before acting on the impulse. Do not be discouraged if you recognize the stress and behaviour after you’ve eaten, checked your phone or turned on the TV. This is the perfect time to remember your goal feeling and breathe into it. Ground yourself by closing your eyes and putting your hand on your stomach or looking into someone’s eyes. This will bring you into the present where you can check in with yourself to see what you’re feeling. Post reminders to breathe deeply so as to create a habit.

The FOURTH STEP involves getting to know these feelings you’ve been hiding from. These apparent Inner Demons are beneficial. They have something to teach you and can help you find more joy and peace in your life. Write down the thoughts and feelings as often as you can. Open up and share your fears with someone you trust. Revealing the fears behind the bad habits will lessen the intensity of the default behaviours and the need to numb the feelings.

Soon you will be able to enjoy these daily behaviours again without feeling out of control. You will decide whether the reward will be food or alcohol, or the positive daily habits you’ve created to manage your stress and anxiety and avoid numbing.

Get Rid of Negative People?

We’ve all heard someone say. .I need to get away from negative people. You may have said it yourself and I know I’d said it in my pre counselling life. ‘In order for me to thrive and be happy I need to stay away from certain people’.

The hidden miracle and truth that’s hiding in plain sight is… It’s more about you than it is about them.

If you’re often taking other people’s views or behaviors personally? this topic is for you. If you’re often disappointed with other’s ability to follow through or be relied on? This topic is for you. If you’re often left feeling resentful or used because of how others are treating you? This topic is for you. …..

Give yourself and everyone a break. I’m going to give you 3 1/2 words that will help you get clear. … Are you ready?

It’s not them!!!!!

Right now you’re either coming up with a bunch of reasons I’m wrong and why the others are to blame or you’ve just written me off as a quack. Some of you, hopefully, will see that realizing “it’s not them” feels exciting and empowering. Possibly a little scary too. Means being emotionally responsible.

You know that trying to change other people is impossible even though we all try REALLY hard to make it so. “Maybe just this time it will work.” It might work a little but imposing rules and boundaries on others to make us feel better always comes back on us. We either are never satisfied or the tug of war with the other’s rightful space and freedom will become too much. Or worse you start to feel disrespect for the other person for giving in to you and not standing up for themselves.

So try something different to get a different result and turn your focus back to yourself.

The other person is just triggering an upset that’s already within you they aren’t creating a whole new feeling you haven’t felt before. The story may look different but the trigger and feeling are the same.

What’s your trigger about? What are you feeling underneath that trigger?

Somewhere in your early life ‘ something happened’ big or small and you made it mean something about you, others or the world. That’s what’s bring triggered.

It’s actually calling for healing.

Give it your attention.

Ask for help if you need it.

The pay off is worth it.

Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now

Moving from FEAR to Excitement

The Fear of failure can stop you in all areas of your life. Career, dating, exercising and connections with family, partners and friends.

Fear is a powerful emotion that controls our behaviour regardless of what you say you want – It can make you Hide, Shake, Freeze or Scream.

What are we so afraid of? The 5 Basic Fears

  • The Fear of Death or Ceasing to Exist
  • The Fear of Mutilation – physical pain or needles
  • The Loss of Autonomy- emotionally smothering in a relationship or feeling claustrophobic
  • The Fear of Separation – rejection, abandonment and loss of connection
  • The Fear of Ego Death – loss of Identity like a job, humiliation and shame

Our fears are either basic survival values or learned reflexes from memories of past traumas. It’s the memories of past traumas that get us in to trouble and stop us from achieving our goals.

What happens? We experience fear as thoughts and physical reaction at the same time. Our body is reacting to these thoughts by releasing adrenaline and chemicals that were originally meant to help us defend ourselves by either fight, flight or freeze. But the body doesn’t know the difference between an actual threat of imminent danger in front of you or merely the thought of failure. It reacts the same way with stress and anxiety.

Imagine.. You’re asked to speak in front of 200 people and you have no way out. If you are like most people you’ll feel a flutter and wave of fear in your stomach or tension and panic in your chest. It’s instantaneous; and seemingly without thought. FEAR!! On the surface it appears we’re only reacting to the thought of speaking in public… but the fear of failure has just kicked in. And with it your thoughts are flooded with insecurities and beliefs about yourself and others based on experiences from your past. Thoughts like – I can’t do this – I’m not a good speaker – No one will want to hear me – I’m not smart. For me the biggest fear is freezing and forgetting my words. Your body is reacting to the fearful thoughts as if it’s happening RIGHT NOW!! Stress!! Anxiety!!

So what do we do? By default we believe these thoughts. They are the ego, our protector, trying to keep us safe after all. Safe from separation, humiliation and shame which could lead to rejection. So we choose not to participate to stay safe. We’re being driven by the fear of Ego Death and Separation. But in staying safe we’re cutting ourselves off from expressing, participating and connecting with others. See the loop? Our instinct to hide for fear of separation and rejection actually creates the separation and disconnection we’re fearing. But we do this because it feels familiar and comfortable. After awhile though familiar and comfortable can lead to a lonely, indifferent, uneventful, unexciting, dull, uninspiring life.

When we challenge our fears however we feel alive and connected. And It can be exhilarating. Because fear isn’t weakness it takes courage to feel the fear and do it anyway. And courage can look like taking a step outside your door if you’re agoraphobic or smiling at the cute stranger. Little steps can be life changing.

One of my favorite quotes is “Fear is Excitement without the Breath”. I don’t know who wrote it but …Wow. How true.

How to start turning your fear into excitement. By breathing, getting curious and becoming aware of your thoughts. By changing them from expecting to fail to imagining what we want from a situation and expecting to feel exhilarated. So you may be invited to a party but are afraid of groups, or you’re putting off seeing the doctor because you’re worried about the results or you’re asked out for coffee and you think you don’t have anything to say…. When that feeling of impending danger and insecurities start to well up I ask you to get curious and think of it as information. That’s all it is it’s just a thought. A thought about the future based on the past. It’s all just information.

Take the step. The more we understand our fears the more we can be calm and talk about them and learn where they come from. When we have more understanding we have more choice and fear has less control over us and our behaviours.

Express Emotions Responsibly

What good are our emotions anyway.. do we really need them?

Emotions feel out of control
Use emotions with control to feel happier

Do you wish you could get rid of your emotions?

It does seem as if life would be easier without emotions sometimes. They make life messy and out of control when often we prefer tidy and controlled.

Of course it’s not that simple…. Getting rid of ‘negative’ emotions means giving up the ‘positive’ aspects as well.. they’re connected. You know how close laughing and crying can be?… it’s a very fine line. One second you’re laughing and the next you’re crying or better yet the other way around. It’s how we’re wired. You can’t have one without the other.

If you’re interested in finding out about the body’s reaction to emotions the late Candace Pert did a lot of research and wrote a book The Molecules of Emotions. Candacepert.com Her research is also featured in the movie ‘What the Bleep Do we Know’

Are you willing to give up your joy and passion to get rid of anger and sadness?

A lot of times in my clients first sessions they apologize for crying and I can see them trying to ‘compose’ themselves and hold back the tears. It looks so difficult. There’s nothing wrong with crying. It’s a release of pressure like laughing can be and it’s a connection to a deeper sense of yourself. From there we can explore how they control themselves and they gain awareness of conscious or sub conscious beliefs they have about emotional expression. It’s a good start.

It’s not about getting rid of emotions but expressing them responsibly

Letting our emotions release brings a sense of relief and hope. Like revealing a secret we didn’t know we were holding onto for a long time. Because the other option is expending a lot of energy to control them and hold them in. (people wonder why they’re so tired) It can feel a bit scary as if they’ll never stop because if you’ve held tears in for so long the pressure has built up like a water toy being held under water. If you hold it under lightly it just bobs up to the surface when you let it go. No big deal. If you push it down deeper and keep pushing it explodes out of the water when you let it go. ERUPTION. Just like emotions. And usually not at appropriate times.

The urge to distract and hide emotions

Where do you think your emotions go when you push them away? It seems like they disappear for the moment but they don’t. And then you experience those moments when you’re overreacting to a situation. Or maybe you find you’re upsetting the people close to you because your anger is leaking out indirectly as passive aggressive behaviour. The common belief there is that expressing anger is bad and so you project your anger onto others. You can read more about that here.

 

So yes we really need our emotions, we couldn’t get rid of them if we wanted to although we still try. They are our bodies signals to us that something important is going on and it needs some attention. So show yourself some self compassion because opening to and sitting with your emotions can unravel to reveal love. A love for yourself and others. A love that’s been mistakenly obscured by fear.

Call or email me to find out more or to book a session.

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