• Kirsti Gwynn

Keeping Busy to Avoid Your Feelings

Have you ever felt like the only way to deal with heavy or hard feelings is just to keep constantly busy?

When you're feeling anxious, hopeless, or dissatisfied, it's natural to want to avoid those feelings.

Keeping busy used to be my go-to strategy. I packed my days and evenings full of time out with friends or work. And if I didn't have anything to keep me busy -- well, there was always TV, or scrolling through social media.

Because the truth was, whenever I was left with a quiet moment alone, those feelings became so much louder. It seemed impossible to ignore the negative thoughts or the feeling of heaviness in my chest once the noise of distraction was gone.

I was like Dory says in Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming".

But what if there was a better way to deal with those feelings? A way that didn't fix the problem only temporarily, keeping the feeling at bay until they came rushing in again, but allowed me to resolve it and get some much-needed relief?

Here's what I wish I'd known about keeping busy to avoid your feelings:

1. Difficult feelings get bigger when you avoid them.

Back then, I didn't know that emotions are really messages from the part of the brain responsible for keeping you safe. (I've nicknamed this "The Protective System").