Unfreeze Those Feelings!

The HSPs 7 Paths To Reducing Sensitivity - HSP Health Blog

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To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are.

Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go.

Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient.

Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings.

What Happens To Our Feelings?

Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators.

And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,  

“It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress…

He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom.

Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.”

Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick.

Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake

When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them.

When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, accept them feel them and listen to them. It is called metabolism.

Metabolism comes from the greek word ” metabole” for change or transformation. At any given time as we interact with our world we are in the process of metabolism – of perceptions, thought, feelings, emotions as well as material substances such as food and water.  All forms of life engage in metabolism, from plants to humans.

When we are unable to metabolize a food it will clog our bodies. When we are unable to metabolize or process emotions, they will clog our system as well. Ideally we process all food and experiences each day so that we are in a state of flowing with life. If only it were that simple!

It is often not  possible to process all information and feelings when they occur. Some feelings can be part of a larger process.  The grieving process is a good example of that.  However, the most difficult situations are those where an acceptable arrangement is not possible – situations that are abusive, demeaning, and dehumanizing –  because the pain of these situations often does long term damage to the energy of the body, and takes a long time to heal.

Learning To Accept And Release Feelings

It can be useful to think of feelings as information.  When the feelings are the result of a past experience transferred onto the present, it is a sign that there is unfinished business in the past that must be dealt with. Another way of looking at it is that energy has become blocked in the body, it has not been metabolized. Under these circumstances it is our job to accept the feelings so that they can be released.

There are releasing practices available including meditation,and the energy healing practices of eft (emotional freedom technique) and reiki that help with processing emotions. Writing in a journaling has been widely used and can be effective.  Therapy groups have been helpful to many.  The more severe the experiences causing blocked energy the greater the need for therapeutic solutions.  The body has its wisdom and in some severely abusive situations it will “store” emotions to be processed at a later date if that is what is needed to survive.

Highly sensitive people and severely abused people need to be aware that they can accept and take charge of their healing process by finding therapeutic practices and groups that will let them forgive and let go of the past. Engaging in such practices helps minimize the potential for long term destructive addiction and therefore is valuable for all people.

For More Information:

Stress, Addiction And Weight



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Overcoming The Desire To Take The Easy Way Out

Do you sometimes take the easy way out?

We all do.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

Have you ever wondered what to do about it?

Why Do We Take The Easy Way Out

So here’s the deal.

We humans all like pleasure. There is nothing wrong with that.

When we take the easy way out, it is to feel good.

That’s it.

When we are taking the easy way out, it means that we are usually harming ourselves in order to get the good feeling we are seeking.

The example of someone who has a bad experience and then gets drunk or overeats are classic examples of this.

But taking the easy way out does not necessarily have to be this obvious.

When Feeling Good Is Taking The Easy Way Out

There is nothing wrong with feeling good. There are some important positives to feeling good. One positive is that it can be an indication that we are healthy.

Feeling good can tell us when we are doing good work.

However, feeling good has a downside: we are conditioned to seek pleasure outside of ourselves.

We live in a world of rewards and punishments that engage us even if we do not want them. We have to interact with the world and its existing structure just by being alive.

For highly sensitive people, dealing with the challenge around the rewards and punishments we live with can be daunting because they were not designed for us. One of the observable differences between HSPs and non-HSPs is how HSPs have a more internal locus of control whereas non-HSPs are more apt to seek outside rewards.

This situation makes feeling good and interacting with the cultural rewards structure difficult for HSPs.

When HSPs Take The Easy Way Out

Even if we are not seeking a lot of external rewards, we HSPs may still take the easy way out sometimes. We are human after all, and life is hard.

Some days, we are like everyone else, we just don’t feel like doing what we need to do. Like exercise.

But I think it is a complicated issue for highly sensitive people and a hard issue to navigate socially.

We need more rest and more frequent rest, so we may feel that we are copping out when we are only taking care of ourselves.

We may overextend ourselves in order to do our jobs to pay our bills which may cause us to neglect ourselves because we are exhausted.

It may seem that no matter what we do we feel that we are taking the easy way out somehow.

And we may be perceived that way by others which doesn’t help.

The Conflict Between Survival And Excellence

For highly sensitive people, excellence is more attractive than survival as a motivation. Excellence is less adversarial.

However, the world we live in is more survival oriented.

Many of the rewards and punishments in our culture relate to our survival (real or imagined). They require an aggression that runs contrary to the nature of highly sensitive people. Our gentler natures make it appear that we are abdicating our responsibility to others when we are not.

A survival oriented world often treats people as resources to be used to serve survival. HSPs do not do well in survival schemes. We tend to be slower and more conscientious. War is not our thing and often seems like taking the easy way out anyway.

As a result, not only do we not respond to the external rewards we are surrounded by but we are also unlikely to perform when we need to be highly aggressive rather than highly conscientious.

Coming To Terms With It

We HSPs have to come to terms with our different natures and a cultural system that often will not reward us. The way to do that is to create a way of life that is designed to meet our needs and talents.

We need to take up the challenge of finding work that provides us with satisfaction, enough rest, and enough financial support.

We need to recognize our greater need for health care and make sure that we get what we need.

We need to make sure we are around people who support our well being rather than drag us down.

When we do these these will will have found a way to be in the world that lets us function well so that we do not have to take the easy way out.

The Surprising Cause Of Addiction

Jive Addiction Cruise 2010 4th -11th October 652 © by Jive Addiction

Have you ever wondered what causes addiction?

Does it seem sometimes that all around us is one form of addiction or another? Entertainment, shopping, work, the internet, sex, food, drugs, alcohol?

Do you ever wonder if that is all there is?

The Cause Of Addiction

Stress and addiction are actually cause and effect according to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga. His thinking is explained in  Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist

According to Yogi Desai in this article, “Addictions are antidotes that provide a temporary escape from the stress- producing, conflict-creating reactions you have about what you are doing, where you are going and who you are with. Addiction, which is only an effect, occurs when you continue to use inappropriate external resources to reduce stress and restore a sense of balance, while failing to resolve the cause of the stress hidden in the unconscious.”

The first question this raises is:

  • why does anyone need an antidote to a reaction?
  • are some reactions OK and others not?

Have you ever noticed when your feelings and reactions are “corrected” by other people and how that feels?  and what is your reaction to that experience?

Problems with reactions and the need to escape them come from a conflict we are unable to resolve. Usually the seeds of addiction are created when we are children.  As children we are stuck not only physically but also emotionally as well. We have to survive in the environment into which we are born. It is that natural need to survive that can get us in trouble because we sometimes have to live with compromises to our worth and dignity that we do not want or deserve.

Unfortunately the seeds of addiction can happen innocently. If, as a child, someone were to step on your foot, and you were told not to cry, that the hurt is really not so bad, you would likely feel awful from the hurt foot, awful that your hurt was not acknowledged, bad for crying, and confused by the reaction to what seems obvious to you: you need help and healing.  The seeds of addiction have just been planted, when the child has to reject his or her natural feelings to be accepted by parents and family.

The seeds of addiction can be magnified in a situation of extreme abuse where the child experiences both abuse and denial of the abuse. Often the child must act with affection and gratitude to their abuser, which causes their feelings of conflict intensify. Add the natural pain of the child and the thwarting of the natural inclination to love that an abuse situation creates, and you have a serious emotional mess!

This mess if it is allowed to exist over a long period of time results in disabling and  creates  damaging conflicting emotions that can result in extreme and maybe permanent damage to that individual’s integrity and ability to self regulate.

People who suffer from addictions deserve compassion.  Highly sensitive people are particularly vulnerable in abusive situations because they take in all energies like a sponge and they heal slowly.  It is difficult to be stoic and be a highly sensitive person.

There are any number of solutions and paths to healing the conditions and causes of addiction.  They include therapy that validates feeling, and alternative health practices like meditation, eft and reiki that help release frozen painful energy in the body.

Healing from addictions and child abuse can be a lengthy process, because you have to reverse the long process of devaluation that created the problem in the first place. HSP’s often experience devaluation because of their sensitivity so abuse can add an additional experience of devaluation making healing even more challenging.

One of the bravest actions a highly sensitive person can take is to decide to be an advocate for themselves and get the help they need so that they can have some quality of life.

Uprooting The Seeds Of Addiction: 5 Ideas And 5 Solutions

addiction © by Alan Cleaver

 

Addiction is often misunderstood as a weakness of the will when in fact it is more complex than that.

Addiction is closely related to stress.  According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga, stress and addiction are actually cause and effect as explained in a June, 2010 article in Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist

Yogi Desai states that, “Addictions are antidotes that provide a temporary escape from the stress- producing, conflict-creating reactions you have about what you are doing, where you are going and who you are with. Addiction, which is only an effect, occurs when you continue to use inappropriate external resources to reduce stress and restore a sense of balance, while failing to resolve the cause of the stress hidden in the unconscious.”

Basically then, all addiction comes from a desire to escape some kind of conflict or consequence which raises some important questions:

  • why does anyone need an antidote to a reaction or an escape?
  • how can we live in a way that lets us handle challenges without becoming addicts?

Problems with reactions and the need to escape them come from a conflict we are unable to resolve which means that usually the seeds of addiction are created when we are children. As children we have to survive in the environment into which we are born which can cause trouble when we have to live with compromises to our worth and dignity that we do not want or deserve.

The seeds of addiction can be magnified in a situation of extreme abuse where the child is not only physically and emotionally harmed but also expected to cover up the abuse for the parents. Children will also cover up abuse to avoid abandonment.

If the child must act with affection and gratitude to their abuser, the child’s feelings of shame and hurt intensify. Add the natural sadness of the child and the thwarting of the natural inclination to love that an abuse situation creates, and you have a serious emotional mess!  This mess if it is allowed to exist over a long period of time results in disabling and damaging emotions that can result in extreme damage to an individual’s integrity and ability to self regulate.

Long term abusive situations are the one that cause the most damaging addictions because the individual’s escape of choice has a long time to solidify into a permanent habit.  The addiction actually becomes a way of life and part of the individual’s identity.

People who suffer from addictions deserve compassion.  Highly sensitive people are particularly vulnerable in abusive situations because they take in all the energies around them like a sponge and they heal slowly.

So how how can you heal addiction? Here are some ideas:

  1. embrace the idea of a long term healing journey because it means that you need to travel from a place of not knowing yourself to learning who you are.
  2. embrace the idea that it is not your fault that you have an addiction.  You did not create the situation; you do, however, have to engage in healing.
  3. embrace the idea that your self image was formed when you were a child and so it is out-of-date the way a Model T automobile is today.  Many people struggle with the idea that they are incompetent or bad because their adult caretakers had unrealistic expectations of them and taught them that they were defective. It is not a fault for a child to be a child. Just because a Model T doesn’t have GPS doesn’t mean it is a “bad” car.
  4. embrace the fact that as a human being you are not perfect, do not know it all and never will and no one else is any better.  Let yourself off the perfectionism hook.
  5. Think of your healing journey as similar to building a house.  Your first job is to lay a foundation.  That foundation has to include physical self care, healing time, and attention to the voice of the inner self seeking your attention.

There are several ways to heal the emotional pain of abuse:

  1. meditation helps you to detach and helps with inner healing.
  2. journaling helps get emotional pain out of your body onto paper, so it becomes a form of release and is a great daily practice.
  3. energy healing methods like EFT and reiki are superb for releasing emotional pain and creating a feeling of inner well-being.
  4. find a healing group of your choice, preferably one which practices compassionate healing.  That means respecting your experience and pain while encouraging the healing journey.  You heal faster if you have help.
  5. If your abuse was severe, it can benefit you to have a therapist’s help to develop a renewed capacity for trust and positive relationship skills.

Many people are afraid of the healing journey because they are afraid of experiencing emotional pain and sadness.  There is no question that healing can involve pain.  It is similar to the pain of an illness or to the pain experienced after surgery.

Often people suffering from addiction were unable to process their feelings when they were children because it was too dangerous to do so.  Unfortunately, these feeling become trapped in the body, so one of the primary jobs of healing is to let the feelings arise and release them.  Each time you do you receive a gift.

When I do emotional healing, I learn something about myself or others that enables me to forgive and appreciate myself.  I have strict rules about safe healing, however, and do my absolute best to be non-harming in my healing.  That is why meditation, journaling and energy healing practices are so helpful.  They help you heal in a constructive way.

One of the bravest actions a person can take is to decide to heal themselves and get the support they need for their healing journey.  It is a journey from self contempt to self respect, self harm to self care, and self hate to self love.  It is a rewarding journey.

Stress, Addiction And Weight

stress eating © by ginnerobot

Scientists have been researching the link between stress, cortisol and weight. Because addiction and stress are related, scientists have been wondering if a similar relationship exists between stress and food.

The research is showing that people use drugs and food to self medicate when they are living in situations which pose an extreme threat to the self.The 2007 paper, Stress, eating and the reward system  by Tanja C. Adam, Elissa S. Epel of the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry found that not all stressful situations create the conditions that induce an individual to eat or take drugs.

Chronic anxiety of the kind that is perceived as a direct threat to the self including situations of embarrassment and social rejection have the greatest potential to result in addiction or stress disorders.

Because we all have limits to the amount of pain we can handle and because we cannot be in severe pain and still function, any individual in a situation of chronic extreme stress will seek a way to survive and function. If a change of scenery is not possible, that individual will look for alternatives.

If there is so way to change the situation, the individual suffering from severe anxiety will often turn to a substance to handle their pain. In effect they are medicating their distress.

Once the individual successfully medicates the anxiety of a negative situation, a feedback loop is activated that reinforces the activity, paving the way to a food or substance addiction. Essentially a reward system has been activated; it effectively anesthetizes the suffering individual and reinforces a negative habit to relieve a negative situation.

Highly sensitive people are particularly susceptible to addiction and eating disorders because they are so sensitive to pain both in themselves and others. Their natural empathy makes it more difficult for them to handle chronic, extreme situations. Because long term highly negative stress creates changes to the feedback loops that regulate the body, highly sensitive people may have a number of biological imbalances that need to be corrected.

The disturbed feedback loops caused by chronic, severe anxiety destabilize the bodies’ internal balancing mechanisms including cortisol and insulin regulation. When an individual attempts to correct their behavior they are faced with a double whammy. If the individual is overweight and starts a diet, not only do they lose the substance that provided comfort and incur physical discomfort but they also have higher levels of the anxiety they were avoiding. So they have to deal with the lifestyle change and its discomfort as well as the return of the internal and external stressors that were creating the problem in the first place.

In some situations, that can seem like an overwhelming problem to deal with. An individual who is fully aware of the situation has a greater chance of developing successful strategies to handle their anxiety and maintain a healthy eating regimen than someone who tackles the undesired weight without realizing the causes of the problem. This is true of any stress-related addiction.

For highly sensitive people, having effective anxiety minimization strategies can make it possible for them to be successful in eliminating the unhealthy substances used for self medication.  There are numerous herbs and effective health practices that can help, as well as medication for severe stress and anxiety disorders. All of these alternatives offer HSP’s more relief than substances that can endanger one’s life.