Pain, sorry, anger, disappointment are all common experiences. Whether you’re suffering from a recent loss in the family or you’re simply not happy with where you are in life, your emotions can sometimes get the best of you. Though it is part of life to have negative feelings when something goes wrong, it becomes unhealthy once a person begins to internalize those feelings and act out in negative ways.
Body and Mind Connection
No, no one wants to feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, or even sad, but it’s simply a fact of life. We go through things in life that evoke all types of emotions in us. However, what many people fail to realize is the diverse connection between the mind and body. Essentially what you feel mentally can begin to show its face in a physical form.
Someone suffering from stress might find that over time they are dealing with headaches, back aches, and sleeping issues. Though the physical ailments can be treated with medication, the mental issue tends to stay the same. Left untreated mental illness can turn into other serious conditions including alcoholism or addiction to drugs.
Recognize the Signs of Self-Medication
For this reason and more it is important to realize when you’re overwhelmed emotionally so that you can get help before it begins to wreak havoc on your life. The first step comes with knowing you have a problem. Below are some signs that you may be self medicating to mask emotions:
- Your intake of drugs and alcohol has increased
- You utilize substances more often when you’re stressed, depressed, or anxious
- Your personal and professional life has taken a turn for the worse (as a result of your increased use of alcohol or drugs) – your finances are out of whack, your work performance has fallen off, and your personal relationships are negatively impacted.
Important to Note: If you do believe that you’ve started to use substances such as drugs, alcohol, or even food to self medicate it is imperative that you do something about it. Self medicating can easily lead to addiction which is another mental beast that can be challenging to overcome. There are reputable companies who can help you find the best addiction treatment services and rehab programs for you to help tackle the physical and emotional aspects of addiction or abuse.
Getting Help with Your Emotions
If your self medicating has not yet led to addiction or abuse then there are other options for treatment you can consider. One of the main suggestions would be to consider seeking the services of a mental health professional. While it may sound cliché, talking with a therapist can help you in learning how to turn your negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones. They can also teach effective conflict resolution and problem solving skills to help you effectively cope with any issue that might be presenting itself in your life at the moment.
While attending counseling sessions, there are other things you can do to cope with overwhelming feelings:
1. Accept Your Feelings – there is no right or wrong way to feel about anything going on in your life. Part of the reason many self medicate is because they’re not sure its okay to feel the way that they do. To kick the habit, it is a good idea to just accept the state of mind you’re in right now. If you need to feel down for a while do so, if you’re angry, admit it. Allowing yourself to feel is the first step to prevent yourself from covering it up.
2. Counteract Negative Thoughts – If you find yourself getting negative thoughts that lead you to feel depressed, you need to fight back. If you start feeling like life isn’t worth living, tell yourself all the reasons it is worth living. It may seem forced at first but with time you can train your brain to think positively.
3. Learn When You Need Help – Sometimes there is just too much on our plates to really sit and deal with the right now. Though you may very well be feeling down and out, if you have children to care for, the easiest thing to do obviously would be to take a sip of wine and keep it going. However, wine won’t last long and emotions come back. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed it is best to ask for help.
4. Do Something You Enjoy – last but not least sometimes you have to take a break from all the things that stress you out and just focus on the things that make you happy. Take some time for you to do something you enjoy on occasion.
Self medicating is no laughing matter and can really do a great deal of damage to your physical and mental well being. If you’ve discovered that you might be using drugs, alcohol, or food to mask the emotions you’re experiencing it is time to do something about it. Seek help from an addiction treatment facility or certified therapists for your habit and mental health. In the meantime, practice counteracting your negative emotions with positive actions to turn that frown upside down.