As you can tell, this will take a lot of work and commitment. Emotional addictions take decades to develop and will require you to do a ton of self-reflection. After you’ve identified the “hit” emotion you’re ready to move forward.
It’s worth noting that this is not a place to dwell in. When you find out what the emotion is, you will feel a lot of other emotions around this. A lot of shame can come up because you were unaware of your own behavior.
Practice compassion and understand that any behavior can be changed with intention. Move forward and have gratitude for this awareness.
Re-wire the brain’s reward system
1. Focus on nutrition:
The brain is an energy-demanding organ that is constantly creating new pathways, regenerating cells, and is firing and wiring neurons countless times in a day. The brain is primarily fat and is in constant communication with the gut via the gut-brain axis.
Since neurotransmitters like serotonin are primarily made in the gut, food becomes the greatest therapy for a healthy brain. When you’re working on a new habit, it’s important to give the brain proper nutrition to support the process.
This means removing processed foods, sugar, gluten, and replacing them with nutrient-dense ancestral foods like meats, veggies (especially fermented veggies), kefir, grass-fed butter, eggs, and dairy if you tolerate them well.
2. Use affirmations:
If you read my Instagram posts, you know that I focus a lot on affirmations as a way to re-program the subconscious. When you know your “hit” emotion you can use affirmations to change the neural pathways of the brain. Commit to doing daily affirmations and be patient.
While this can be done, it does take time. Morning is the best time to do them because the mind is in a relaxed state. Before bed is another, so find the time that works best for you. Never attempt to do this in a period of stress.
During the day when you feel your emotions rising use this mantra silently each time. As the mind adjusts you’ll see your “hit” emotion coming up less and less.
Let’s say your emotional addiction is to anger. Peace is the emotion you want to use to break the cycle of anger. An affirmation for this would be “I am peace. I choose peace. I control my emotions in any given situation, and my baseline emotion is peace.” Deliberately feel peace throughout the body. Imagine how peace feels. This is the most important part. If you can think it and feel it in your body it’s as if it is already true. This is where affirmations gain their power to produce real change.
Looking to know more about how you can handle your emotions better? Read 5 Emotions That Can Cause You Pain, And How To Control Them
3. Expect Resistance:
The brain is neuroplastic, meaning it can create new pathways based on conscious behavior at any time during life. While this is fascinating and gives hope, it’s important to be realistic that it takes a lot of work.
The mind always favors familiarity and will protest when you try to change neural connectivity. For this reason, it’s important to take small blocks of time to do this work.
If you do too much at once the brain will become fatigued quickly. Subconscious re-programming will only work when the brain is in a rested and relaxed state. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Slowly over time, the brain will gain tolerance to these new activities if you do not go into stimulus overload.
Freedom from the chains of emotional addiction will not only create happiness, but it also creates bodily health. Allowing your body to rest from these chemical “fixes” will allow its physiological processes of natural healing, or homeostasis, to take place. You will start to see not only emotional benefits but also physical ones as it regains its natural balances.