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Ways We Numb Ourselves

“The world is going to break you, there’s no doubt about that. So instead of dodging it, for fear of what you may find in the pieces, run straight into the eye of your storm. There’s a new you waiting to be built from the pieces of the old you. Spoiler Alert: It’s a masterpiece.”

- Stephanie Bennett-Henry

Becoming Aware of Your Upsetting Thoughts and Feelings

What to Know

Many PEOPLE deal with their problems by trying to avoid painful thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories. They think if they just distract themselves, they will be fine. However, while avoiding these unpleasant inner experiences may help temporarily, these strategies usually only work for a short period of time.

There is also a significant personal cost to avoidance. Some PEOPLE spend hours each day avoiding the things that could upset them instead of using this time to enjoy life.

This exercise is designed to help you examine how you are avoiding the things that cause you to be anxious and upset, and how this keeps you from having a happier and more fulfilling life.

What to Do

Begin by listing the feelings you are trying to avoid. List three feelings that upset you.

  • List three thoughts that upset you.

  • List three sensations that upset you.

  • List three memories that upset you.

  • Write any additional upsetting thoughts, feelings, sensations, or memories here.

  • What do you do to avoid these unpleasant inner experiences?

  • List the places you avoid to keep from having painful inner experiences.

  • List the places you avoid to keep from having painful inner experiences.

  • List substances—including alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and food—you use to try to avoid unpleasant inner experiences.

  • Is there anything else you do to avoid unpleasant or painful inner experiences?

  • Now go back to what you have written and circle the three things you do most often to avoid unpleasant inner experiences. In the space below, write down how your life might be different if you could accept these unpleasant inner experiences rather than work so hard to avoid them.

How To Use This Worksheet…

An ordinary life can become an extraordinary life, your everyday imperfection is actually part of your beauty, your scars and your emotional being.

I encourage you to answer these questions in a quiet safe place to record your reflections and thoughts, these questions have been designed to guide you to love yourself and where you need attention.

1. Who makes you laugh and why?

2. I need more of this?

3. I need less of that?

4. What big adventure would you like to go on and why?

5. What are some of your favorite ways to make me feel like a kid again?

6. Do You take time to pamper yourself? If so what does the routine look like, if not what would you like for it to look like?

7. What are things about yourself that you would never change?

8. Make a list of positive affirmations of yourself.

9. Life never goes according to plan. What is one twist life’s thrown at you that wound up being something positive?

10. When was the last time you did something for the first time?