Hey, anybody here speak Dutch? No? Well, then I’ll tell you that the word the Netherlanders use for addiction is “verslaving”. It literally translates to “enslavement”. Anyone who has tried to quit smoking, stop overeating, give up Coca-Cola or sugar or Starbucks mochaccinos, get off any other addictive substance, or break bad habits in general, knows that “enslavement” is a pretty accurate description of the addictive experience.
Similarly, anyone who has ever tried the kind of meditation where you’re supposed to “clear your mind” and “stop your thoughts” knows how addictive (hard to stop) our thoughts can be. In a way, we are a slave to them. That is, until we become aware of this fact and begin the revolution to take over, become present, and start directing our thoughts instead of them directing us. I call this “thought-management”.
When we can manage our thoughts, we can attune our emotional state and our vibration to align with the things we authentically desire, like meaningful connection and intimacy, happier circumstances, improved lifestyle, and success in our endeavors.
All addictions have some sort of pleasure or reward to them, otherwise what would be the point in indulging in the substance? The “pleasure” of DRAMA is the sense of aliveness that comes with it. C’mon, you know how “good” (i.e. empowering, animated, dynamic, etc.) that chemical rush of adrenaline, cortisol, and other neuropeptides feels when it floods your system. It gives you a certain kick when you get into an argument (whether the conversation is in your head or actually live and in person). The surging sense of running late in a panic during rush hour lights you up (in fact, it’s called rush hour because everyone is in their individual vehicles getting off on the adrenaline buzz from moving in slow motion when their systems are spinning on warp drive). The feeling of being submerged in worthlessness and victimhood, or of having to fight to prove that your way is “right”, becomes almost irresistible. I could go on and on with examples here, but you get the point.
Additional “rewards” for indulging DRAMA include being “seen” and “heard” and feeling like you “matter”. Sure, passive-aggression, stonewalling, raging, and meltdowns (to name only a few tactics) will accomplish this, but are these really the most effective methods? DRAMA thinking and behavior are generally not making a positive impact on the world. But the trouble is DRAMA is so familiar and easy to access, most people unconsciously operate as if “it’ll just have to do until someday when my world is perfect and everybody does things my way so I can be all zen and enlightened.” Needless to say, there are more positive means of “mattering” in the world, but that’s another article.
The worst part of DRAMA, like any other addiction, is not the experience of being in it. It’s when you wake up from it and realize that, no, it’s not the outside world that is “doing this to you”… it’s you who create or attract DRAMA to yourself. One reason this is the worst part is because it requires a level of self-ownership most of us are not accustomed to taking when it comes to the dark spaces of our Beings. It’s so much easier to project and place blame. It’s so much more comfortable to look around and see that “clearly” the people and circumstances that comprise your life are “making things happen” outside of your power. From the addictions perspective, however, we call this denial.
Your brain, your thoughts, your emotions, your life, and your experience are your domain. Really, no one can run them for you. And would you even want them to? On some level, the answer is ‘yes’, because we tend to want to denounce our authentic power and make ourselves smaller than we are to “belong” and fit the world we were born into, so we defer to others. (DRAMA somehow functions to perpetuate this as well.)
The Truth of who You Are, however, wants you to be the most authentic, loving, empowered, creative, fully-expressed and actualized version of yourself, in the highest possible way. That’s what the discord in your life is calling you to, begging you to hit your tolerance threshold where you can no longer deny your Best Self. But instead of following the passion, taking the path of joy, and actually thriving, we go down the familiar road of DRAMA instead. I say, ENOUGH!
I don’t love long articles, but, whatever… there is a lot to say about this topic. If you’re still reading at this point, you can get more content from the book when it comes out. (For updates on that and other fun stuff, join my community for the monthly eshot). In the meantime, here are some simple ideas to get you started on a plan to reduce the DRAMA in your life and begin to Thrive!
1: Conscious, DRAMA-Free Thriving begins by taking 100% responsibility for your world and your life experience. That means how you’re thinking about yourself and everything around you, the emotions you are generating, and the behaviors you are choosing. (I was so annoyed when I first started to adopt this concept, ‘cause I SO wanted it to be them who had to change and I wanted the problem to be out there. Now, I know that taking personal responsibility for everything in my universe is the only way for me to live with abundance and in alignment with my True Self… but making that internal shift took some time and conscious practice.)
2: Identify your DRAMA Triggers. Most of us know the scenarios and people that can arouse DRAMA in us. Write out a list of what yours are, with the associated dominant DRAMA thoughts, so you can be awake and aware of them next time they come up.
3: Find Alternative Thoughts for each DRAMA Trigger. Once you list out your triggers and the dominant DRAMA thoughts, come up with one or two new thoughts that you can begin to use instead. Keep it simple, fun and easy. It might help to brainstorm with a friend. Sometimes getting silly or extravagant helps you shift your emotional state more easily than something “practical” or “realistic”. The goal is simply to have a new response, not to solve world peace with a one-liner.
Note: This is one of the most essential parts of successfully breaking any addiction. Unless you have something new to replace the old, unwanted “substance”, you will naturally fall right back into the familiar patterns. That’s just the Vacuum Law of the Universe at play.
4: Get support. Undoing any addiction takes a metropolis (forget the village). You will need your positive peeps to help you when you get triggered, or even better, before you go into one of your trigger-potential scenarios. Let your support team know what you want from them, and how you will best feel supported. Help them help you.
5: HALT. This term is known well in the substance-addictions world as Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, which are all common triggers to relapse. In dealing with DRAMA Thinking, I have a variation of this. We tend to be more susceptible to DRAMA Thinking when we experience too much of the following:
H: Hunger or Hormones
L: Loneliness (or boredom)
If you are “going bad” and getting into the DTs (which are not actual delirium tremens, but sure can feel – and look – like them), HALT and do a quick scan to see if one of these things might be the culprit. If you can call one of them out, all the sudden you can access a new solution (like having a snack or taking a nap, etc.) before you go into full tantrum mode.
6: Use the 5 D’s. (And no, one of them is not Dramamine… though we super love MollyAnn’s fun and highly creative video. Wouldn’t that just be the ultimate solution?! Mega HUG to you, Girl!) When you feel yourself going down the rabbit hole of DRAMA Thinking, try one of these strategies (or a combination) to shift and go down a new path:
DELAY: Just wait and let it pass. This could take 90 seconds up to several minutes. But just wait before you react or launch a verbal spew that will circulate out there in the vibrational ethers and come back to you as Drama Karma. Just wait.
DISTRACT: Get busy and focus your mind on something else. This will help break the DRAMA thought path and it’ll be easier to make the emotional shifts to see the trigger scenario more clearly and respond in a way you can actually feel good about.
DEEP BREATHE: In through the mouth… slowly… all the way in… and now out through the nose. Get some oxygen into your beautiful brain! It’ll calm the chemical surge and help you come to back to your center.
DEPART: Sometimes leaving the situation really is best, until you can recover and get into alignment with your Best Self, whereby you can have a healthy interaction and make new choices.
DANCE!: Literally… or figuratively. But either way, get your body moving. Use music to help you shift… it’ll activate another part of your brain. And moving your body will help you release feel-good brain chemicals to offset the DRAMA rush. Plus, dancing is just fun. We all need a lot more fun!
Finally, keep in mind that you are not the slave. Your brain and your thoughts are here to serve you and your greater purpose in this world. As you begin to break the DRAMA habit and live more in alignment with your True Self, you will find your life unfolds fluidly, naturally, in the best possible ways, with a whole lot more peace, happiness and authentic thriving. Enjoy!