I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about addictions. We were discussing the fact there are so many addictions that we are not aware of, or how they impact our lives.
When we think of addictions, we often just think about the ones related to drugs or alcohol, but there are countless more.
We get addicted to wheat, sugar, certain chemicals in foods, caffeine, sports, social media… But the addictions that are quietly destructive to our health and happiness are our addictions to negativity.
I have written in-depth about negativity addictions in my book: Become a Super-Empowered Empath, but not so much in blog posts. So, I hope to address that here.
The media knows that people have a natural draw towards negativity, because of our negativity bias. They play on this, to keep us coming back to their sites.
I often write about the importance of Empaths avoiding media outlets because of the strife it stirs up, and because it creates negative emotions.
Negative emotions give the body a rush of hormones that become addictive. That’s why so many people become hooked on having traumas and problems in their lives. These traumas fuel the brain with a hit of some of its favourite drugs: the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
We read a lot about becoming addicted to dopamine, but we don’t see much about addictions to the stress hormones. But they are equally as damaging.
When the brain or body is addicted to certain stress hormones, it is much harder to recognize than with other addictions. But if not addressed, this dependence becomes the pathway to an unhappy life.
Although I have known many who have a penchant for negativity, there was one particular person I knew, who was heavily addicted (and probably still is). I will call her Shirley.
Shirley would create reasons to be angry and dissatisfied with her life, including anyone in it. She had a very one-tracked mind and would not allow herself to see anything but negativity in a situation. She pushed many people away because of her dark ramblings. Not intentionally though. Anyone who spent time with her, found themselves being dragged into wrathful discussions which would leave them feeling flat and depressed.
She blamed everyone else for her life not being the way she wanted. Shirley expected others to change for her, but not to make any changes for herself. Because she secretly thrived on negativity, she continued to draw into her life more reasons to be negative (law of attraction).
Shirley allowed negativity to make her bitter and vengeful. But that wasn’t who she was deep down. She had a kind side that got squeezed out by the darkness she allowed to grow within.
Her desire for drama was fuelled by her body/brain’s need for stress hormones. Her negativity addiction did so much damage to her life. She refused to address it or see it as being problematic, because she secretly thrived on it. Negativity became her purpose. It was an addiction that she became afraid to live without.
I’m sure every one of you reading this has come across a ‘Shirley’ in your life.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that an Empath is destined to become like Shirley. I wanted to show an extreme example of negativity addiction. However, Empaths are at risk of becoming hooked on the stress hormones stirred up by negativity.
The reason you may not consciously be aware that you are addicted to stress hormones, is because they are activated without you necessarily taking part. And what I mean by this is, the brain will be doing the work.
Once addicted, your brain will work to activate your body into releasing stress hormones by drawing your attention to anything that it knows will make you react.
Picking up and feeling other people’s stress or emotions is also a way your hormones can be triggered. Another is having had experienced trauma in childhood (the memories continue to activate stress hormones throughout life).
A negativity addiction can be at work without you even leaving your home or coming into contact with others. When not around people, stress hormones are activated mostly through the thought process.
After giving up many addictive things, I know exactly how tricky addictions are, especially with the brain. It is not until we give something up for a period of time that we see just how our choices and thoughts were governed by addiction.
With any addiction, we have to see it for ourselves.
If you suspect you have an addiction to negativity, and are therefore drawing more negativity into your life (like attracts like), you have to stay vigilant of knowing when your hormones are being spiked. You normally recognise this by the discomfort around the gut or chest area. It may feel like a burning sensation or a sense of dread.
As soon as you feel this, act immediately with a distraction so that your thoughts don’t get involved. Thoughts feed emotions. Emotions feed thoughts. Emotions are fuel for your stress hormones. You have a seventeen second window before thoughts take over and you become hostage within your own head. This post may help with distraction.
So, yes, Empaths are prone to having negativity addictions and this is because we tend to feel everything so powerfully. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Often when we become aware of a problem within, it is half way to overcoming it.
Hope this helps on your journey.