Learning how to deal with our difficult emotions is one of the most important things we’ll do in our recovery from addictions and mental health issues. Our tendency when dealing with our challenging emotions is to want to avoid them at all costs. We don’t want to feel the weight of their pain. The pain we feel, however, doesn’t get resolved when we ignore it. It festers and grows, and as it accumulates, it worsens, and its hold over us intensifies. Our pain essentially takes over our live and manifests as the behaviors and thought patterns that become addictions and mental health problems.
Becoming conscious of our emotions is the first step. We often are not aware of our emotions. We react to them without understanding them. Take time to pause when you’re having an emotional reaction. Breathe. What are you feeling? What thoughts are coming to you? Healing starts by being conscious of our emotional reactions and not suppressing them or sweeping them under the rug, ignoring or avoiding them.
Explore why you’re having the emotional reactions you’re having. What sorts of things do you feel triggered by? What do you feel resistance to? What you do your reactions look like? Give some thought to these questions, meditate on them, and listen for the answers. They will come to you because they are within you. Your inner voice, or intuition, will direct you to healing. That’s its job!
Investigating our emotions will inevitably bring us to the unhealed trauma, wounds and fears we’ve been holding onto. Resolving these means facing them head on and accepting everything that comes to us. Painful memories of trauma, bitter regrets and disappointments, unspoken frustrations – difficult things will rise to the surface once you open yourself to them. You might be afraid, but try to be brave. It hurts, but the pain is there to teach you important lessons about yourself, about life, about human nature, about healing, about service to other people.
Sit with your pain. Let yourself feel it. Let it come over you. Accept it. You might notice that when you don’t try to fight it, it has a chance to dissipate. Our resistance to pain causes it to grow in its magnitude and in its power over us, but accepting it and feeling it lets it subside, neutralizing itself naturally.
Comfort yourself through the pain. Tell yourself things like “You’ll get through this. This pain will be over soon. You are loved. You are safe. You are being protected.” The more we practice allowing ourselves to be open to our emotions, the more we can process them in order to heal them.
The recovery process includes important emotional work, and we’re here to help. Call (800) 871-5440.