Negative emotions like anxiety, sadness, anger and fear are a natural part of life. But sometimes, it can be difficult to manage those feelings before they gain momentum.
Like quicksand, every negative thought seems to pull you down. You want to get out of the situation, so you act right away on impulse. But that behavior doesn’t help you, even though you were convinced it would. And before you know it, you’ve sunk deeper into the destructive behavior you were trying to avoid.
When it comes to managing negative feelings, impulsive and destructive decisions are a natural response. But like quicksand, the key to escaping is a slow, thought-out approach in a focused direction. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the relationship between negative feelings and self-destructive behavior.
What Causes Self-Destructive Behavior?
How many times a day do you feel anxious, sad, depressed or afraid? Like a teapot of boiling water, all these negative feelings simmer and start to rise. Without knowing how to manage them, the pressure becomes too much and you’re at the point where you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better.
That pressure leads to impulsive and destructive behavior like acting out, drinking, or using drugs. These unhealthy behaviors do provide relief, but only in the short-term. There are a variety of reasons behind what causes self-destructive behavior, but uncontrollable negative feelings is at the top of the list.
How Destructive and Impulsive Behavior Becomes a Cycle
Once your negative feelings influence your destructive and impulsive behavior, it’s common for a cycle to form. For example:
Let’s say you have a big job interview this week. The anxiety and stress start to build. As you go on with your week, you can’t seem to shake negative, self-deprecating feelings. It gets to the point where you just want it all to go away. You’re at home one night still feeling anxious and decide to have a drink to calm your nerves.
Alcohol gives you some temporary relief, so you continue to return to this solution every time you feel stressed and anxious. Before you know it, this destructive behavior becomes a cycle. Sadly, this is a common example of how destructive and impulsive behaviors can evolve into substance abuse and addiction.
Rumination and Destructive Behaviors
Rumination is when you spend too much time focusing on your negative feelings. It’s like replaying memories or events that cause your negative feelings over and over again, without any relief or respite.
Where rumination gets tricky is what it does to your brain. It increases your body’s production of stress hormones. Think of it as adding fuel to the building pressure your negative feelings are causing. And it’s common for people to engage in destructive behaviors before they even realize that rumination was part of the cause.
How to Manage Your Negative Emotions and Self-Destructive Behaviors
Your negative feelings and destructive behaviors can be dangerous if left unchecked. Here are a few quick steps on how you can manage your negative feelings before they gain momentum:
- Take a Moment to Pause: It’s natural to want to act on negative feelings right away. But try to take a minute to think before you react.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings: Having negative feelings doesn’t make you weak. Whatever negative feelings you’re having, try to acknowledge them and understand that it’s okay to have these feelings.
- Think About Your Next Step: You took a moment to pause, now it’s time to decide what to do next. Make sure your next step is focused on helping you cope with your feelings in a healthy way.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: If you’re still struggling with negative feelings and destructive behaviors, ask for help. There are resources that can help with your destructive or impulsive actions.
Discover Expert Addiction Treatment in Cleveland, Ohio
Drug and alcohol addiction can start as a short-term way to cope with your negative feelings. But there is hope to stop the momentum of these destructive behaviors. Silver Maple Recovery offers evidence-based addiction treatment in Cleveland, Ohio.
We know that mental health has an impact on addiction. That’s why we offer personalized dual diagnosis treatment to give you the best chance at addressing both issues at the same time. With our approach, we take the time to understand how each condition affects you before your treatment starts.
As one of the premier dual diagnosis addiction treatment centers in Cleveland, Ohio, our staff is ready to help you reach lasting recovery.
Contact Silver Maple Recovery Today
If you’re suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, our residential treatment can help you move forward in your recovery. Contact our staff today to get started. We have professional caregivers ready to speak with you 24/7.