All Posts in Category: Motivation

Fear and it’s Role in Recovery

Fear can be something that you do not even realize is holding you back from attaining recovery and health for mental health issues. The role fear plays in each of our lives can look unique to each person. Tackling the areas that you fear can free you from chronic problematic behaviors. It’s this feeling of fear which may actually keep you in your existing patterns. Approaching what you fear can help you attain a sense of empowerment. Many times fear keeps people avoiding or denying problems within their life. Whether this emotion is keeping you from taking the first step toward recovery or is limiting your quality of life, it’s important to understand where and how it shows up in your life. When you acknowledge the presence of fear, you can more easily move onto actual acceptance of your existing condition. This in turn will lead to healthier behaviors to begin the process of recovery (depression, trauma, addiction or substance abuse) such as entering treatment, asking for help, or simply sharing that this problem really exists for you.

Think of how fear is holding you back. Make a conscious effort to approach whatever you are afraid of in regards to your recovery. Much of the time, what we tell ourselves can only increase these feelings and keep us avoiding our problems. Changing your mental script can help you approach whatever is causing you fear (“I will fail at recovery” “People will judge me” “I can’t do this”, or “I won’t get better”). Whatever your thoughts are, work on changing them to more positive ones that help you approach your fears. Letting fear rule your life will only keep you from attaining peace and health in your day-to-day existence. Fear will also foster regrets later of what you did not do and/or worsen your existing condition. Take some time, and reflect on the role fear plays in your life and your recovery.

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Emotions and Recovery in Substance Abuse and Trauma

We all have our own way of dealing with our feelings. This week, I’ve been wondering about all the different ways people manage or deal with their feelings. What relationship do you have with your feelings? What do you tell yourself about feelings? Are you comfortable with emotions or uncomfortable? Are you fearful of experiencing them? My own personal style has been to deny them or avoid emotions by pushing them away or bottling them up for as long as possible. Sound familiar? Individuals struggling with substance abuse and/or trauma among other mental health concerns many times utilize maladaptive coping strategies to manage or numb difficult emotions, such as drinking, drug abuse, partying, staying over productive, and other activities or behaviors that keep you from confronting those emotions.

What makes letting negative or difficult emotions in so difficult? Much of the time, it’s what we tell ourselves will happen if we do or our beliefs about emotions. For example, emotions are dangerous. Negative emotions arise from painful experiences or events that occur in your life. Can we learn to welcome in the pain that we feel from emotions? Sounds strange I know. Working on accepting that pain will arrive at our doorstep from time to time, can help alleviate some of the anxiety and fear around difficult emotions. Maybe the resistance only makes these emotions more intense or heightened. We can learn to tell ourselves that we can survive the emotions that arise from certain events, because we have survived the event itself. This may assist us in approaching the work that is ahead with these feelings. We can either keep the door shut, which will have the emotions linger at your front door, or open that door and let the feelings in. Individual therapy can help you in developing a healthier relationship with your feelings and teach you how to approach your feelings so that you can begin to give up other unhealthy ways you have been managing.

Can we just allow ourselves to have self-compassion for knowing that the human existence can be difficult at times? That compassion entails allowing ourselves to feel the hurt in order to heal from the pain you have experienced within your life. Can we just learn to be kinder to ourselves for living in the human experience, which naturally includes pain as part of the process?

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