I was driving down some quiet, familiar streets on the way home the other day, it was easy going and didn’t require a huge amount of thought. The car radio was on, but wasn’t playing anything I was interested in, maybe it was a song I’m not bothered about or adverts or something. Out of no where my mind presented me with thoughts of Dad that brought a tear to my eye.
My mind does this kind of thing to me all the time. I’m sure yours does the same. I’m going about your day in neutral, feeling not much about anything and BAM – here’s a thought to make me sad, or made or filled with shame. It might not even be something that was ever real, some times its “what if” scenarios which are completely fabricated, but they can still get me riled up.
Why would I do this to myself when essentially everything is fine and why is it almost exclusively things that make me feel bad rather than good? It’s not often my mind presents me with something that makes me laugh out of the blue. I do have a theory.
My theory is that I am essentially addicted to my thoughts. I think we all are. We hardly ever question their validity, we go along with whatever we’re presented and we get swept along with the feelings that they raise. I feel like we get a high from the emotions, whether they are good or bad emotions, it feels good to be feeling something.
Perhaps we tend towards negative emotions because we know we’ll get a bigger and more prolonged reaction than something positive. The high is based on the intensity of the emotion, rather than the emotion itself. The crappy feelings have bigger buttons that are easier to press, so we go with that for a quick hit.
I want to remind you at this point that I’m talking about indulging in these emotions when things are essentially fine, when a thought has arisen and we’ve followed it down the rabbit hole because we can. I could, right now, bring to mind a thought to make me cry, cringe, get pissed off, smile or laugh and I would be choosing to do so. When you are going through something real welcoming, accepting and releasing the emotions that arise is vital to healing.
I haven’t checked, but I don’t think there is a 12 step program for this addiction as there is for some others. I don’t think there is a group (locally anyway) where I can stand up and state “I am Caroline and I’m addicted to making myself feel shitty for no reason.” So I guess it’s up to me to get a handle on this myself.
I have only come up with 3 steps.
- Recognise I’ve chosen this thought
- Give myself a shake
- Replace it with a thought that makes me feel good
My hope is with some practice I’ll create a neural pathway that goes straight to the good stuff straight away.