Masking Our Thoughts/Emotions

Masking has evolved and is now defined as concealing one’s emotion by portraying another emotion. It is mostly used to conceal a negative emotion (usually sadness, frustration, and anger) with a positive emotion. This is the definition I found online. What I mean by this concept in this post is avoiding, hiding, concealing, or suppressing thoughts and emotions with external means, like food, alcohol and drugs.

Best bet is to confront/acknowledge the problem, or struggle to manage and cope. This will help you find solutions and help ease your mind. The thing is it isn’t an easy concept for most. People tend to prefer to use coping strategies as food, alcohol, and drugs to seek comfort, instead of facing the problem, they do it without realizing it. These strategies are not healthy, but for the individual it is a short-term fix. That is why a mindful approach is very important, so awareness can stop these habits.

Avoiding is easier. It is easier to pick up the drink, take the drugs, and eat the food, than to try to make changes, maybe it isn’t easier, it could be the fact that people don’t have the knowledge to a more mindful approach to get them out of this cycle of habits. The dopamine release from using these strategies for comfort is rewarding for the individual. You feel good for the moment. The problem is it doesn’t last long. It feels nice for a couple minutes, maybe hours, than reality sets in again. Everything is back to where it was when you started. You may even feel worse for doing what you did, feelings of guilt, shame, or anger may arise.

Using these strategies to push away your problems, or hide them away just perpetuates the problem. This allows the problem to linger, which than allows one to continue to act on the bad habit. It is an endless cycle of negativity and bad habits. These habits cloud your mind, especially alcohol and drug use. It impairs the frontal lobe. The area of the brain needed to fix the problem you are dealing with. By clouded the mind, you are allowing the problem to remain and grow.

Nothing can be fixed with external things. It can only alleviate the underlying issues. You will continue to eat, drink, and consume drugs when dealing with negative emotions/thoughts, until one is able to face the problem straight on with a clear mind to find solutions.

I know it is tempting to pick up the drink, eat the food, or take the drugs. But one must learn to take control of their lives, and not allow things around us to control us. These mindless habits can just lead to more problems for one mentally and physically. There is just nothing good long-term that comes out of suppressing your thoughts and feelings.

Taking the mindful road can allow you to become aware of one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. This can then allow you to become aware of these bad habits. Which then can allow you to put a stop to these habits. You will learn to face the problems in your life, then learn to concur them with a calm and clear mind. This process will provide peace of mind, strength, and recovery. The thing you must always remember is that you have control of your habits. Give yourself back that power. Take the power back into your hands.

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Breaking Bad Habits

We all have bad habits we like to break. Well, I have the cure just for you! Okay, I don’t have a cure, but I do have an idea that may help break that habit.

Bad habits are difficult to break. They are ingrained in us through repetition and rewards. We know it is bad for us, but we still do it. We don’t even think about the bad habits that we do. It just becomes a habit. Part of our daily lives.

Instant gratification is powerful. The reduction of stress from smoking. The delicious taste of junk food. The numbness of thoughts, and feelings from drugs and drinking. It is easy to fall into bad habits. Much easier than good ones, which is why it is so irresistible.

What you don’t realize is what you are actually doing at the moment. The focus on the reward(less stress, sadness,tension etc.) is what makes us do these things. You must remind yourself that it is only temporary satisfaction. This is where mindfulness can be helpful. Mindfulness is all about awareness.

The process of awareness is heightened through mindfulness practice. If we learn to become aware of the bad habit at the moment, and notice what we are actually doing. This can actually open our eyes to the negative behaviors, and give you a new perspective on the bad habit.

I have a bad habit of scrolling online, mainly Twitter. I sometimes do it without noticing it, because it is so easy. But I always find a way to become aware of what I am doing. I take a step back, and look at things from a different perspective. I realize doing this isn’t productive, or benefits me in any way. It always ends up creating tension. So I end up closing the app, and going about my life doing other things that benefit me. I wouldn’t be able to do that without being aware. I may get caught up in bad habits once in awhile, but I can always find my way out through awareness of the situation at the moment.

Become aware of exactly what you are doing at the moment. How does it make you feel? What are your thoughts? Does it make you feel better? Does it benefit you in anyway?

The habit becomes habitual. We don’t even think about what we are doing. But once you become aware. Reality of the situation starts to seep through. You start to think. This doesn’t really make me happy? It is just a temporary fix. How is this productive, or beneficial for me?

We look for a quick fix away from tiredness, stress, sadness, boredom etc,. Not realizing the negative effects it has on us. It is just so easy to fall into the bad habit, so why not? Awareness can set you free.