Our habits and minds have so much momentum. This shows up in the way we take the edge off what we’re feeling or escape the present moment through some kind of comforting or addictive behavior.
I have been using the word “Really?” to press pause for a moment and check in. What underlies this urge or compulsion? Could I tune in to that directly? Is there anything in particular happening that is triggering this?
Trauma is an underlying element in all types of addiction. One result of trauma is a nervous system that is hyper vigilant and always on the lookout for danger. This is adaptive to keep ourselves safe in a dangerous environment and maladaptive when there is no actual danger anymore. Many people have an ongoing sense of not being safe that is an imprint from previous times in their life when they were actually not safe. When they were being hurt. This includes physical harm and emotional pain and isolation.
This week in the Friends With Your Mind course, we did a practice of being present with the energy or sensations in our gut. We might not even be aware of this long term sense of underlying uneasiness and fear yet it often drives our edginess and compulsions.
I suggest two practices to work with compulsion. The first is the practice of checking in to see what you really need in the moment. If you notice your tone edging toward a snarky Really??!! then take a few breaths and see if you can be kinder to yourself. This guided Compulsion Inquiry explores some of this territory.
What do I really need in this moment? If it is not the wine or the chocolate, what do I really need? How can I support and nurture myself in this moment?
The second is a practice of being present with energy in your stomach area. We often have a deep seated uneasiness and it is not comfortable to pay attention to those sensations. There is no right or wrong way to explore this. If you are working with something intense, it can be helpful to have the support of a trained Living Inquiries facilitator.