Eating, playing video games as the only way to escape, or even projecting our bad mood onto others … These are strategies that we frequently use to evade reality.
People avoid their emotions in multiple ways. So much so that we could say that we are true jugglers in this of repressing, hiding, or displacing the emotion felt. Our life is too complex and often painful; If there is something we long for, it is to disconnect from suffering through some rewarding practice that makes us forget. And there the problem begins.
By detaching ourselves from our emotional experiences, we reinforce the silent foundations of anxiety and depression. Not thinking so as not to suffer does not work. Distracting the mind to escape from what hurts, disturbs, and blurs the calm, is an inaccurate formula.
Pushing the feelings down, like someone trying to sink something annoying, implies gradually drowning ourselves. It is good to remember that mental health depends largely on the ability to manage, accept and regulate emotions. It is not an easy task, it is true. Not everyone knows how to do it, no one has taught us and there are many factors that mediate or hinder this competition.
Let’s not hesitate to ask for expert help. Because the last thing is to derive from some of these practices that we will now analyze.
To resort to food in a compulsive way is a form of emotional catharsis that reveals the mismanagement of our worries, fears, anxieties.
Ways in which people avoid their emotions, do you identify yourself?
Research works, such as those carried out at Columbia University, remind us that correct emotional management is key to our adaptation. This psychological craft is complex because it involves activating sophisticated cognitive processes. An example of this is directing our attention, choosing some thoughts over others, knowing how to interpret negative valence emotional stimuli, etc.
We are clear about it, regulating what we feel is not an easy task and therefore the most hackneyed option is to detach ourselves from these psychophysiological states. How?
In reality, people avoid their emotions in such sophisticated and hidden ways that we may be surprised. What’s more, we may even identify with one of these mechanisms.
1. Sleep, comfort under the covers
Sherlock Holmes said in one of his adventures that the solution to all problems was to sleep. It is true that good rest clears the mind and reboots us physically and psychologically, but be careful. There are those who seek the shelter of the sheets and the dream to escape, not think and avoid facing reality.
Let’s also remember that sleeping more than 8-9 hours is not healthy and generates metabolic alterations.
2. Hyperactivity and multitasking as an escape mechanism
Indeed, there are those who are able to sleep 15 hours a day, while others, on the other hand, avoid rest at all costs. Doing the more things the better is another mechanism for not getting in touch with emotions. It is not leaving room for the mind, not allowing a fissure through which the echo of those complicated feelings that demand to be attended to emerge.
An example of this is to pour 200% into work, do the more hours the better, and then occupy the time with any other activity with which to get home tired enough to go to bed instantly.
3. Food, an emotional escape mechanism
One of the most common ways that people avoid their emotions is by “eating” them. If things go wrong for me at work or with my partner, I empty the fridge of all those foods that give me the most satisfaction. Because we believe it or not, disappointment, anxiety, worry, anguish, and even shame are channeled through compulsive eating.
Thus, research works, such as those carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, conclude that a good part of eating disorders have this origin.
4. Guilt directed at others
There are people who project their discomfort and frustrations on others, carrying blame, fear, anger, and of course, bad humor on others’ shoulders. This is another recurring mechanism in those who are unable to make contact with their internal universe and, instead, turn on the fan and distribute all their negative emotional charge wherever they go.
5. Video games, spending all day in front of a screen to escape
Video games are a danger when there is a potential dependency or when people use them as a constant resource to escape from reality. In this case, there are people who avoid their emotions by immersing themselves in that parallel world for hours, neglecting everything else.
These virtual universes are cathartic, isolating them from reality and completely disconnecting them from the real world.
6. Turn to others so as not to think about oneself
Focus on the children, the partner, the family or anyone who needs something from us. Putting your eyes, your heart, and all your willpower on others is a way of distracting the mind, completely neglecting our true needs. This is undoubtedly another very common resource when people avoid their emotions.
7. Procrastinate, unproductive boredom
We have pointed out many times, behind procrastination there is no laziness, laziness, or irresponsibility. What is observed in many cases after this delay is insecurity, low self-esteem, fear, and a series of emotions that have not been accepted and regulated.
Let’s keep it in mind, when we perceive that we have fallen into the prison of procrastination, we will be able to make contact with those internal realities that need our attention.
8. Audiovisual escapism and series consumption
Series marathons serve us for more than just entertaining us after a long day. In many cases, they are that refuge where the mind can rest. With each chapter, we turn off our concerns to ignite alternative stories that take us to other realities. Far from ours.
9. People avoid their emotions by pushing their body to the limit
Go for a run, until you are out of breath. Spend hours in the gym pushing your strength to the limit. Exercising at home, until we feel that every fiber of our body hurts … That’s right, focusing on the body and exercise in an almost obsessive way is another strategy to disengage from one’s own emotions.
It is true that there may be more ways out of accepting and regulating anguish, fear, anxiety, and frustration. Alcohol or resorting to other types of substances would be some examples. However, with this list, we draw a clear canvas of the strategies that we usually use to escape from what we feel.