Ever wondered why you are unable to have closure on a relationship? Or why your anger is never truly resolved? Perhaps you know what it means to feel like a victim to your circumstances?
As always with the mysteries of humans, there is an explanation in the brain.
I spend a lot of time on emotions as a coach because it is what motivates human behaviour. I also know that it is what debilitates our growth and part of the problem is emotional addiction.
We can be addicted to many things- work, drugs, relationships; we often do not even realize the extent of our addiction. They run our daily life but the reason why they are dangerous is that they run our thoughts. When we think about our addiction extensively, we are wiring our brain and creating neural pathways to strengthen those pathways of addiction. Thinking about work conditions your brain to think about achievement, success, failure; thinking about a relationship tickles your brain to engage with thoughts of expectations, acceptance, love and belonging.
And the more you think, the more addicted you become. The more addicted you are, the more neural pathways have been laid down to strengthen those thought connections. This is a cycle that motivates most of our actions, decisions and behaviours.
But what exactly is emotional addiction?
Your thoughts run your life. These thoughts create certain emotions in you and from neuroscience we know that each time we experience and stay with an emotion we strengthen the neural pathway and our feelings that are associated with it.
As you think and strengthen your neural pathways, your body creates a chemical cocktail of hormones and protein which makes us feel in a certain way. This is what the body gets used to over time and as it becomes natural to you, like riding a bike or driving a car, it also becomes your default position.
So if your reaction to anger, love or conflict is always the same, it is because you have conditioned yourself to be that way and when you find yourself in those situation, your emotions, in the form of chemicals flood your body, making you act from your familiar state.
I always had difficulty with anger and the way it is displayed in conflict situations. Since my youth I conditioned myself to avoid potentially harmful situations and my body used to tremble in fear when I was faced with anger, both mine and of others. So I fled or ignored any situation where anger was present.
Then, as I learnt about my brain, coached others with their anger, I understood how it was a default position I was addicted to and just like every other addiction, I can detox myself from it.
Another addiction I am familiar with is to feel helpless in a situation. My body and my mind has been conditioned to this feeling of helplessness, as if I cannot change a situation right in front of me. Now I have more insight and less addicted. Let’s just say I am still on detox…
The more I learn about the brain and emotions, the more addictions I discover. The more I learn, the more I believe it is a powerful way to grow as a human being.
I must note that emotional addictions are not only relevant to negative emotions, we can be addicted to feelings of success, courage or positivism because when we feel those all the time they cause a certain addiction and as such, can make us blind to reality. Like drugs, workaholism and victimhood does.
Intrigued? Why not book a session with me to discover your emotional addictions? I offer a one hour session to those who want to grow the smart way. Here is my online diary to book: https://heartsmartcoaching.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php
Still not convinced and want to know more? Next week I will be sharing some tips on how to detox yourself from your addictions, so stay tuned!
To Your HeartSmart Life,