Struggling with panic attacks, agoraphobia, or other anxiety problems? The Anxious Truth will educate you, empower you, encourage you, and inspire you to get your life back! Listen to the podcast, read the books, join the social media community, and get on the path to recovery.
Do you fear your emotions? Do you see them as threats, or indicators that you are failing in recovery, or destined for disaster? Do you attempt to escape from your emotions or avoid them? You are not alone.
For full show notes on this episode, visit https://theanxioustruth.com/112
Emotions Are A Natural Part of Being Human
Every human being experiences emotions. Some are great. Some really suck. But all are normal and natural. While we may not always like our emotions, we do not have to fear them or see them as disaster. Regardless of what you think about your emotions, if you are reading this right now, then you have handled and navigated every last thing life has ever thrown at you. You have handled them and you are still here. You can handle emotions and emotional waves too! You are capable of this.
Is It The Emotion, Or The Reaction To The Emotion?
While all humans experience emotions, and often don't like them, not everyone FEARS emotions. Experiencing emotions is not a problem. Being afraid of emotions is a problem. If you see even just feeling some emotions as a failure or a disaster, you have developed this problem. This happens when we lose sight of the emotion itself and its surrounding context. Rather than dealing with the emotion or the situation that triggered it, we tag the emotion as a nightmare, put it aside, then write an entire additional fear-based story about the emotion. We construct elaborate tales detailing what the emotion says about you, what it means, why it proves that you are weak or broken, and how it must indicate that you are failing in recovery and doomed to wind up forever ill, depressed, or stuck.
So is the problem the emotion, or your reaction to the emotion? Are you dealing with your emotions, or are you really dealing with the judgements and stories you add to your emotions? It's very important to see the difference and to recognize when you're adding needless additional burden (judgements, interpretations and stories) to a natural and temporary burden (emotions and emotional waves).
We can address this reaction to emotions using the same tools and concepts that we use to address our physical and cognitive panic and anxiety symptoms. Unlike our panic and anxiety symptoms, emotions are valid. They do matter. But that doesn't mean that they are more than they are. They are just emotions and you are capable of feeling them and handling them directly, however difficult that may be. When you pile judgements and fear-based stories on top of those emotions, you are making things harder on yourself than they need to be.
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