6 signs you're keeping yourself busy to avoid yourself
Each week I have people come through my office for their CBT sessions and more often than not, the majority of them are avoiding their feelings. As someone who wears their emotions on their sleeve, the concept of brushing them away feels really unnatural. However, it wasn't always like this for me. It's been in practice since I was 18 years old. At the time I was diagnosed as bipolar, I didn't believe that this was the case, I believed we all felt the lows and highs of life and they had huge impacts on how we operated. My flatmate at the time was studying social work, and with a little encouragement asked me to do one simple thing - to tell her how I felt each day. Simple right?
At 18, no it wasn't, it was the hardest thing to do, plus why would she need to know, it was my life I was finally living. You see, as an emotional person, my mood would set the tone of the whole house. Which affected her well-being. At the time I had no clue. Fast forward to now - I am grateful for this small step in articulating how I am so that the other person can gather knowledge of where I'm at - because they can't read my mind, right?
This life lesson of educating others on where we are emotionally has helped me manage and get support for those days when I'm not feeling my best self. Where I really need a little extra care, it helps the people around me know when to give me space or to lean in for that big hug that I desperately need.
Avoiding feelings and discomfort was a barrier to creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
When life got tough, my mind got loud, or my emotions became heavy, I would go within myself. I would shut people out.
Turns out that it's not the best course of action, usually ending in a self-destructive cycle of why doesn't everyone else get it. Now I feel bad.
Avoiding our feelings can have several negative consequences on our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are some possible outcomes of avoiding our feelings:
Increased Stress: When we avoid our feelings, we can experience increased levels of stress and anxiety. This can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.
Emotional Numbness: Avoiding our feelings can lead to emotional numbness, making it difficult to feel joy, happiness, and other positive emotions.
Relationship Issues: Avoiding our feelings can cause us to withdraw from our relationships and avoid intimacy, which can create distance and tension in our relationships.
Mental Health Issues: Avoiding our feelings can contribute to the development of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Lack of Self-Awareness: Avoiding our feelings can prevent us from developing self-awareness and understanding our own needs, desires, and goals.
Difficulty with Decision Making: When we avoid our feelings, it can be difficult to make decisions that align with our values and goals, leading to indecisiveness and uncertainty.
Overall, avoiding our feelings can lead to a range of negative consequences, and it's important to find healthy ways to process and cope with our emotions.
So are you keeping busy to avoid those feelings popping up?
6 signs you're keeping yourself busy to avoid yourself
Constant Distractions: You might be engaging in activities that keep you constantly distracted, such as binge-watching TV shows, scrolling through social media, or playing video games for extended periods of time. While these activities can be enjoyable, they can also be used as a way to avoid dealing with your own thoughts and emotions.
Overworking: You may find yourself working excessively or taking on more responsibilities than necessary. While it's important to be productive, overworking can be a way to distract yourself from your own feelings and issues.
Avoiding Alone Time: You might be avoiding spending time alone with yourself, which can be a sign that you're afraid to confront your own thoughts and emotions. Instead, you might always be around other people or seek out constant stimulation to avoid being alone.
Procrastination: You may find yourself procrastinating on important tasks or responsibilities, even when you know they need to be done. This can be a way to avoid facing your own fears and insecurities.
Busyness as a Status Symbol: You might view busyness as a status symbol and feel proud of how much you have on your plate. Being bored is the last thing you want. However, this can be a way to avoid dealing with your own emotions and issues by focusing on external achievements.
Avoiding Self-Care: You might be neglecting self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, or getting enough sleep. This can be a sign that you're not prioritising your own well-being and are using busyness as a way to avoid taking care of yourself.
Avoiding ourselves and our emotions can really stir things up later down the line. When we don't deal with those emotions they stick around, we carry the weight of them. This then affects other situations we pass through. If those negative emotions have also created stories that we believe (hello excuses) of why things worked out the way they did we constantly justify why we don't want to let them to the surface. When in fact, if we had of dealt with our emotions at the time we could have saved a lot of the drama that usually comes when we don't express ourselves honestly.
To deal with our feelings the first step is to recognize our emotions, and then dig deep into the belief that we hold that it's not safe to share this experience. I recommend that all my clients work through a process of acceptance, forgiveness and then letting it go. It's a beautiful tool that aids in the process of allowing our emotions to move through us.
If you want to talk through your own situation I offer sessions online and in person (Scotland, UK) or you can join me in the Confidence Code, where we have monthly gatherings focused on doing the work.