Do you ever find yourself sailing on through life just fine one day, then all of a sudden you feel like a derailed emotional train? What happened? Here is a list of emotional
traps to watch out for. But no worries; there is a remedy for each one of them, with or without medication. There is a big push these days for drugless therapies. I am trained and certified in drugless therapies, which I will share in this post. But I have also witnessed personal, emotional crashes from people deciding independently to take themselves off their medications without their doctor’s approval. While I promote drugless therapy as much as humanly possible, if you are on medications, you must have an honest conversation with your doctor, and decide the best course of action for you safely. You matter.
These emotional traps will be addressed in this article:
- emotional hijacking
- emotional quick sand
- emotional self-sabotage
- emotional sabotage
- emotional blackmail
- emotional pressure
- when friends are not friends
- SAD ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder
Here are some emotional triggers where you might derail yourself:
- sick thinking
- emotional immaturity
- self-esteem issues
- mood swings
- emotional responses
- speaking before thinking
- peer pressure
Now for the self-help remedies that work every time, with or without medication:
- become the observer of your moods and attitudes
- decide to feel better
- take positive action to feel better
- realize you are not a victim
- adjust your thinking
- grow in virtues: integrity and honesty (especially with yourself)
- allow for mistakes
- have a plan
First, it helps to recognize the emotional traps: hijacking, quicksand, sabotage, self sabotage, pressure, friends, and seasonal affective disorder. These things can happen to us before we even recognize it is happening. We go along through life, happy and fine. Then before you know it, you find yourself hijacked by someone else’s agenda, without a conscious decision from your own personal power.
Emotional quick sand can happen both when we are alone, and when we are with others. The tone of the day or events can become so daunting, that they over-shadow you and your outlook. If this is not addressed head on, we emotionally begin to sink, right where we are in our spirit and soul, depleting us of much needed energy and our life force.
Emotional sabotage is like hijacking, only more sinister. With hijacking, we unwittingly go along with someone or something, ultimately in a direction we do not want to go in, until we have experienced that we do not want to go there. With sabotage, someone else intentionally seeks to rob us of our self control and self empowerment with the sole purpose of manipulating us to get what they want.
However, there are times when we want to appear to be trying to move in a particular direction, but in our hearts, we are not convinced we actually want to do this, so we intentionally, consciously or unconsciously, defeat ourselves. This is especially obvious when we are trying to get over addictions: gambling, over eating, drinking, drugging, and sexual and every other kind of addition. This also happens when we willingly let our lack of self confidence taken over our confidence. We see this when people try to better themselves, either with employment or personal gains, then sabotage themselves out of fear of success.
With pressure, it is not just peer pressure that can trap us emotionally. Family members pressure us, as do friends, but we can also get pressures from society, and from people we do not even know. When we care more about what others think of us or what we are doing, more than we do what we feel we want or should do, we give into pressure that is not necessarily good for us. Just because someone or something else has a different opinion of what we are to do, that does not mean that they know better than us what we should do.
When we feel weak we often turn to friends. But sometimes friends are not friends. Take a look at your friends. Are all friends good for us? Do all friends have our best interest in heart? Do our friends have other agendas, whether trying to keep us stuck so that we reach out to them? Do our friends keep us stuck with them, because misery loves company? Sometimes when we begin to heal ourselves, we need to separate ourselves with the very friends who we thought were our friends, but really, we not. Drinking buddies is a good example.
Seasonal affective disorder is a real disorder that affects our mood in a negative way. As the seasons change with less available sunlight, our moods can match the earth’s decreasing brightness. In order to naturally balance us out chemically within us, it is helpful to use light therapy lamps with full spectrum light, in order to maintain our circadian rhythms. Scotopically enhanced light has been proven to stimulate the eyes photoreceptors increasing visual acuity making this light more comfortable to use while lowering melatonin levels that directly affect energy levels in the body. But without realizing what is going on with us during the months of the year with less light, we might think we need to deal with a depression problem, when in reality, we need to deal with a natural lighting problem.
Consciously noticing our triggers is the beginning of the healing process. First, take a full week to observe what hits your emotional buttons. Don’t do anything different in this week. Simply notice your emotional responses to everything, good and over the top. This is a very enlightening week. Sometimes our triggers are not what we thought they were, other times we will find we were right on. Very often we think we are upset with someone or something else that tripped us up, but by observing, we might find we are upset with ourselves for not standing up for ourselves, or not fully expressing what we wanted to say, in a way others could understand us better.
Begin by observing your thinking. Again, at this point, you are not looking to change how you think, merely observe. Are you defeatist in nature? Are you a bully? Are you a door mat? Are you your best cheerleader or villain? Do you act like a two-year old throwing emotional temper tantrums in arenas where they do not belong? Do you call yourself a loser or a winner? Do you believe the lie that if you are having a bad day that means you are a horrible person? What are your intentions? Do you expect to fail, or to succeed? Do you receive failure as a normal part of life, or do you take that personally? Do words fall out of your mouth before passing through your brain because, “that’s just the way I am?” Do I do what I want, or only what others want?
We have already begun the first step in self healing, by becoming the observer of ourselves in this first week. Now in week two, decide to take positive action, to get back into your skin so to speak, and get back in control of the rest of your life. Take a moment to thank yourself for taking the time to recognize where you have been emotionally, where you are, and where you want to go. Now that you have decided to grow in character development, to grow as a more full, conscious aware person, decide which actions you will take to go in a more positive direction. You might decide to stop that negative inner voice from making self degrading thoughts, or speak up for yourself in situations where others, by habit, try to put you down emotionally. Speaking up can be done calmly and with dignity. Speaking up for yourself does not need to be done with hostility and anger. You can speak up for yourself with a sweet smile. However it is done, it is better to speak your mind as opposed to choking back unspoken words.
Come to a full realization that you are not a victim anymore. You and I cannot control what horrible and unspeakable things have happened to us in the past. We need to come to terms with this. We may have been a victim of war, robbery, assault, or worse. But to choose to stay emotionally living in the past, is to choose to self inflict ourselves with injury that does not need to keep happening. We do have a choice to move forward in a more positive direction. Even with post traumatic stress, there is a road to recovery. But that is not what most of us are dealing with, those who choose to live with the victim mentality. This is the case where we might have adopted sick thinking, like, bad things always happen to me, or I’ll never get better, or no one has it as bad as me. The only way out of this thinking is to come to the realization that you and I are not victims, unless we choose to be.
So how do we get past all these traps and triggers so we can transform like a butterfly? If you do not like how you are feeling, change how you are thinking.
I will continue in the next few articles how to help yourself with self improvement, self healing, growing in self esteem, and growing in virtues like integrity and honest, especially with yourself. You can spend thousands of dollars going to counseling to get to know why you are the way you are. I studied under Dr. Dolores Seymour, who wrote a book, “Who Cares Why?” This is such a good point. Who cares why you are they way you are? What matters is, what are you going to do from this day forward, to improve, to get better, to get healthier, to grow in faith, hope and action, whatever you choose.
You may have noticed you are not perfect. Who ever said you had to be perfect? Was it friends or family? Was it yourself? So, why beat yourself up for being fully human. We all make mistakes. We trip up on our pride here. I say, get over it.
The answer? Make a plan. Plan to say enough to all the things that bring you down. Make a plan for all areas of your life, financially, socially, with family and friends, employment, spiritually or in matters of faith, and any area you see that you wish to tackle. Nothing is impossible with God.