The Addiction to Emotion

Science has found out that we are physically addicted to our emotions. This is one of the main reasons we always seem to be in the same emotional states.

People have a lot of different temperaments. There is this lady who is always moody, brooding about this, that and the other. You meet this gentleman who always greets you with a smile. There is this aggressive kid on the block, and you fear his violence. There is this boss of yours, and you just can’t please him, no matter how hard you try.

Most people tend to behave in a predictable pattern. It is said that you’re born with your temperament, and that your character is formed over the years. And once character has been formed most people don’t change that much. They basically do the same, say the same, and react in the same manner to a given circumstance. And that’s just fine by us, since we like to know who we are dealing with. We don’t like surprises.

The same applies to us. We don’t change that much, the way we act is pretty predictable to those around us. That’s how we get on with the world and the people in it.

The way we act, the things we do are always determined not by what we think, but by what we feel. No matter from which angle you look at it, the most basic motivating factor for us when deciding to embark on a course of action (or not) is the question on how that will make us feel. Is it going to give us pleasure or is it going to cause us pain. We like to think of us as rational human beings, but most of our so-called rational actions are based on our emotions, whether that happens consciously or unconsciously.

We are not so much thinking creatures but feeling creatures. It’s our emotions that tell us whether we are happy or sad, feel successful or a total failure. And we become, literally and physically, addicted to the emotions we feel most often.

There are parts in our brain that discharge so-called peptides into our bloodstream. These are miniscule chemicals that make us feel the way we feel. There is a peptide for anger, a peptide for love, one for frustration, another one for feeling successful, sad, dejected, on top of the world- you name any emotion, and soon there will even be a name for the specific peptide that runs through your body when we feel it.

And here comes the really dramatic part. Whatever peptide is discharged into our bloodstream, if it is discharged on a continuous, habitual basis, your body, and with it you, will become physically addicted to it.

So somebody who for years has been feeling irritated about everything, even a butterfly flying accidentally into his house, is addicted to the specific peptide that, on a bio-chemical level, causes him to feel that irritation. What happens if this person just can’t find a reason for feeling irritated? There are two ways. One is remembering and focusing on situations in the past that gave him/her cause for irritation. By just conjuring up these images in his/her imagination he/she sends a signal to his brain that it’s time for his fix.

Or she might physically move around the house until he stumbles over a pair of shoes his daughter left standing in the hallway – and that’s enough to fire him up.

A ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ person will unconsciously bump into a waiter in a restaurant so that he spills the drink on her dress.

In that sense, we are all junkies.

And it’s one of the main reasons why we are so predictable. Since we are always trying to feel in a way that pleases our body cells by administering the right peptides to them, we usually act in a manner that ensures those provisions.

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