Change that sticks. Finally.

Emotional Addictions, part 1

Posted May 5, 2015

Do you know anyone who regularly acts like a drama queen? Or habitually is angry, guilty or pessimistic or someone who is always too nice and never says no? Imagine that behavior is an addiction — because it probably is.

Most of us have behaviors we wish we didn’t have, or we have behaviors that don’t serve us well and many times we think that “this is just who I am and I cannot change it.” Unfortunately, it’s that belief that’s the problem! Because, in fact, these behaviors can be changed. But it takes awareness, focus and discipline.

Let me explain with a little peak into the world of neuroscience so we can understand how behaviors and habits are established in our bodies and minds.

In short: Emotions and behaviors create chemicals in the body, the body gets used to having those chemicals around, then becomes dependent on the chemicals and then starts demanding more of them, just like a smoker’s body demands nicotine. We become the servant of a hungry beast but we are not aware of it, we just know that we have a habitual way of acting or reacting and we think it’s our identity. But really it’s just our bodies trying to keep a stable chemical balance.

This means when we try to change a behavior, our body works against us. If we understand this then maybe the next time we want to change something it will be easier.
So the first thing to know is that this is going on, then we need to create a plan like a rehab program to eliminate the behavior and the body’s demand for those chemicals associated with the behavior or emotion.

In my next post I’ll go into more detail about the neurophysiology of emotional addictions and the following post will be some suggested steps on how to alter habitual behaviors, habits and emotions.

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