The Cost of Emotional Indulgence
You’re having a heated discussion with your husband. He says something that makes you really mad. Your discussion quickly escalates into a fight. You’re angry and indulging in this emotion feels justified. It feels good.
You don’t make an effort to connect.
Being in anger is an indulgence you haven’t yet learned how to manage.
You give him the cold shoulder, eat dinner alone and don’t say goodnight when you go to bed.
You’re anger is in control. Not you.
You don’t sleep well that night because your head is spinning. You wake up in the morning tired and feel hungover.
You feel the anger has passed, but an emptiness is left in it’s wake. It’s sticky, dark and you can’t quite put your finger on what it is.
It takes most of the day to feel normal again.
This is the other side of your anger.
This is Emotional Residue.
What’s Emotional Residue?
Emotional Residue is what’s left over after overstimulating your nervous system.
In the immediate aftermath of an intense emotional experience, which is always brought on by your thinking, your body is working to process the over supply of chemicals created by overstimulation.
How does it feel?
It feels like a hang over.
You’re tired, low energy, you may have a headache.
Its difficult to feel inspired, motivated and focused.
It’s another side to the emotion only felt though Indulgence and overstimulation.
Why is this a Problem?
Reacting to your emotions takes more time and energy than allowing emotions.
Emotions are meant to be felt and run through your body, like a vibration.
When we react to our emotions and indulge in them, we’re telling our brains there is something out of the ordinary happening. Our brains respond by continuing to pump out the neurotransmitters (the chemicals) associated with the emotion.
Your brain releases the chemicals so your body will have the energy it needs in the moment to survive.
This keeps us safe in the very rare circumstances where we need to react - to our surroundings.
A falling tree
A speeding car
A baby on the stairs
Not when we’re just sitting on the couch ruminating.
When we don’t actually need the chemical response to survive we’re essentially polluting our bodies.
How does it happen?
We overstimulate our nervous system through Emotional Indulgence.
Emotional indulgence happens when you react to your emotions.
Reacting is defined as: to act or perform again.
In reacting, you’re creating a neural pathway in your brain that reinforces the action of Emotional Indulgence.
When you decide to have Emotional Indulgence you’re forfeiting the responsibility that your emotions are created by your thinking. You attempt to find something outside of yourself that’s responsible for the emotion.
We unnecessarily spent time and energy spinning a tale about what happened and what we’re making it mean.
It’s an argument with reality - and it causes so much unnecessary suffering.
What can you do?
Emotional Indulgence is a self perpetuating cycle you have to bring conscious awareness to in order to stop.
When you stop indulging, you will no longer feel Emotional Residue. You’ll be able to move through difficult emotions more easily in less time and go on with your amazing life.
1. Practice Allowing Emotion
When you’re not in a triggering situation practice feeling a difficult emotion on purpose.
Remember, emotions are created by your thinking.
So choose a thought that creates the emotion for you.
Notice where the emotion lives in your body. Keep thinking the thought and watch the emotion build, move and change.
When you feel that you’ve embodied the emotion, let the thought go and experience the emotion moving through you until it’s gone.
Notice you didn’t do anything; there was no reaction, just feeling.
This is allowing your emotions.
The more you practice feeling you emotions on purpose, the better you’ll get at allowing them in the moment and not reacting to them.
2. Notice when you’re reacting and name it
You’re human and humans will react to emotions at times. By bringing awareness to the situation when you are reacting, you’ll be able to stop reacting.
Reacting is not allowing.
It’s what you’re doing that will indicate if you’re reacting.
Are you yelling, stomping your feet, grabbing a beer, jumping online, eating?
These actions are also reactions to an emotion.
Notice yourself and name what you’re doing.
“I’m reacting right now”
Then ask yourself: To what emotion?
Inquiry will stop you.
Then you’ll need to allow the emotion so you can name it and answer your own question.
3. Find the thought creating it
This is so important because it brings you back to responsibility.
This is where you get off the never ending ferris wheel and onto the ground where you can regain control - of your mind.
Nothing or No one creates your feelings. Your thoughts about them do.
Emotional Indulgence requires you to tell a story about what’s happening to you. When you remember that it’s how you’re thinking about the circumstances and not the circumstances themselves - you can stop the lies.
Ask yourself: What am I thinking?
And Notice it’s the thought causing the emotions you’re reacting to.
Now you’re out of Emotional Indulgence.
And you’ll save yourself the added discomfort of Emotional Residue.
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