Why emotions are the most addictive junk food ever!
We often hear that not only are certain foods or substances toxic, but negative thinking, or stress, is the most toxic acid producing and addictive habit of all.
Many of us have experienced first hand how great we feel in mind, body and spirit when eating a healthy balanced, alkaline diet, particularly a high raw diet. We feel calm, yet energized, emotionally balanced and with a clarity and focus which makes attaining dreams seem possible. We feel like we’ve found the holy grail of happiness and can’t imagine ever slipping back into our old ways of eating and the dullness and lethargy it created.
But most of us do slip back. When we are riding the wave of high vibration food and living, we feel that nothing can taste better than that fresh smoothie, bowl of fruit, or crisp green salad. And yet, we again and again we may find ourselves munching mindlessly on salty crisps, sweet chocolates, cheese or whatever we crave, eyeing the fruit bowl with its glistening nutrient laden contents with zero inclination to go anywhere near it.
It's illogical, we know one makes us feel good, and one makes us feel good for a second before our body rebels. In fact, often even whilst eating it we‘re not truly enjoying it, it tastes fake, overly stimulating, and yet we can’t stop. We are addicted.
So called Junk food, usually means something highly processed to trigger, what the food technologists call the bliss point. It explodes on the taste buds and in the brain and produces a kind of food orgasm that keeps you craving more. Because it is ultimately empty calories, you can’t ‘get no satisfaction’ from these foods, but you try and you try and you try!
Junk emotions operate much the same as junk food, are equally if not more addictive and can have the same slow but devastating effect on your mental and physical health. Emotions are the by-product of the ego, as opposed to feelings which are a expression of our innate self. The ego is the false self image, a mind created identity based on associating the real ‘I’ the eternal spiritual ‘being’, with ‘not I’ external temporary internal or external ‘things’. Things such as, ‘my’ house, car, job, body image, or ‘my’ ideas, opinions, beliefs, personality.
We use these things to function in and enjoy in the world, but we are not those things. They come and go, ebb and flow. But the mechanism of the ego blinds us to our deeper eternal spiritual reality, thus this clinging to the objects of our identification, creates the first emotion, fear. Like the Buddhist say, attachment creates suffering. This fear is followed by anger, jealousy, hate and a host of other emotional cocktails. Each which produce a distinct chain of chemical reactions. As the say in the film ‘What the bleep to do we know’? There is a chemical for lust, a chemical for anger, a chemical for fear.
In a healthy balanced individual, these emotions would be experienced as something unpleasant, undesirable, toxic, over stimulating and they would quickly seek to rebalance their minds by turning inwards and choosing good feeling thoughts. Much in the same way, a healthy eater, after over indulging would naturally skip a meal to rebalance their body.
However, like regular smokers, who adjust to the chronic symptoms of physical discomfort, regular ‘emotors’ adjust to the mental discomfort and pain that emotions produce.
In fact, these emotions can so addictive, we may unconsciously create ‘dramas’ in our lives in order to get the chemical hit that the emotion produces. This can be as dramatic as the person who seeks unattainable, unreliable partners in order to experience the emotional highs and lows of romantic loss and gain.
In experiments on rats with cocaine, they have discovered that if the cocaine is always available, the rat becomes less interested but if it unpredictably available, it becomes more addicted. So, someone who is addicted to emotions will choose an unreliable ‘love’ relationship with the unconscious need to create a state of mental agitation. A stable loving healthy relationship will be experienced as boring – like the salad to the junk food addict.
We may also create mini emotional hits if our working or studying style is to leave things to the last minute, creating a state of mild panic and overwhelm, again giving us a hit of adrenalin. How do we overcome this addiction to junk emotions?
Perhaps the same principles that apply to detoxing our diets, may apply to detoxing our emotional life. It's impossible to go cold turkey on emotional addictions because they are too subtle, however we can become more aware when we are experiencing them, and the very act of observation, loosens the hold of the addiction.
I have had people tell me, in the middle of an argument, that I was just picking a fight to feed my addiction to drama. A wise person using my own medicine against me you may think, but it did have the effect of stopping me in my tracks and making me realise that more than wanting to win the argument, I wanted my peace back.
Another crucial step is to introduce more healthy feelings into your internal diet. Much like you might advise people to introduce a morning smoothie or a big salad to their regular diet, if they are new to healthy eating.
I would suggest you develop a taste for inner quiet by introducing a diet of quiet walks, time in nature alone without technology, gazing at the stars or sky, walking bare foot on sand, sitting still and watching your breathe, yoga, meditation.
Any of these activities are considered boring to the emotional adrenalin junkies. But give them a try, slowly you will develop a taste for the quieter pleasures of life. Until you realize that you are losing your taste for drama. And you prefer the nourishing subtle flavours of inner true gourmet feelings to the nauseating overkill of cheap junk emotions.