Tunnel Vision for Behavior or Substance
One of the difficulties in getting out of compulsive behaviors is the brain is so fixated on getting the high or pleasure from engaging in the behavior or substance that there is little if any time for the brain to be aware of emotions, physiological changes, sensations, mental status, or spirituality. The brain has tunnel vision for the behavior or substance abuse and has no wide lends or peripheral vision.
Two words can help the brain to be observant long before the craving for the behavior or substance begins. These two words are “take notice”.
● Take notice on how you feel when you wake up in the morning.
● Take notice of your emotional state, your physical state, your mental state, and your spiritual state.
● Take notice of your surroundings.
● Notice the weather. Notice the formation of clouds in the sky. Notice the temperature. Notice the wind.
● Notice what it’s like to have another day to try one more time.
Rate What you are Experiencing
What if you rate each of these states on a scale from 1 to 100. As you take notice, you can be aware of the sensations that might start increasing or decreasing now or throughout the day. These initial sensations that eventually turned into cravings are the very things to manage before they dominate the brain and create tunnel vision until the brain is not interested in any other thing except the behavior or substance.
Interacting with People, Pleasant Emotions, Take Notice
Notice what it’s like to interact with people that you really care about. Notice what happens with the sensations in your body when you’re interacting with someone who you know really loves you. Notice what it’s like when you think about a child, perhaps your own child. Or, maybe a nephew or niece. What do you notice happening inside your body when you think about a grandparent? Maybe you have a special grandfather or maybe a special grandmother or maybe an aunt or uncle. Now notice the sensations going on in your body right now when you think about someone who matters to you.
Interacting with People, Unpleasant Emotions, Take Notice
Now, think about someone you have had a disagreement with and maybe there’s feelings of resentment. Think about that person. Notice how your body tells you something completely different. Notice what starts to bubble up inside your body as you think about this person who you had a disagreement with and perhaps have anger toward. Now what is your body telling you?
Relationship to the Craving
Taking notice allows one to know where we are in relationship to the craving for the behavior or substance. Instead of trying to change the craving for the behavior or substance it is generally more successful to change our relationship to the behavior or the substance. Take notice and see what you discover.
© 2018 Rod W. Jeppsen
Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist, CSAT
Certified Gottman Therapist
Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist