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We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle

Do you ever get that feeling that things just aren’t right? You don’t feel connected with the world around you?

You know how you should act, how you should feel, but you’re not quite connecting with your emotions… a numbness you can’t shake off.

Summed up in a word, this is ‘Emptiness’.

It’s a sign that perhaps your mental health is not quite optimal. Maybe you’re stressed and anxious, or experiencing some mild depression without even knowing it.

Trust me when I say ‘You’re not alone’.

Also trust me when I say ‘you can break free form this suppressing feeling’.

The answer is probably not what you think, or not what you have been led to believe. Everyone always searches their thought patterns for the answer to curing emptiness. But this rarely works.

The root of the problem is the stuff we get in touch with every day.

Look, I’m going to level with you. There are a few things in this modern world and a modern lifestyle that are quite unnatural, I call them ‘Negative Triggers’, here are a few…

  • Stress from work
  • Financial pressure
  • Social media
  • Processed Negative Trigger Foods
  • Negative Media
  • Mobile phones

So why do they create the feeling of emptiness?…

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Think about this fact…

The past 100 years, even the past 20 years our race has completely evolved, our lifestyles have changed dramatically due to the list above. But evolution takes millions of years. Biologically we are the same as we were 500 years ago, but we live very different lives. Here lies the problem…We haven’t caught up. I’m going to call this problem ‘The Evolution Acceleration Effect’ (more on this coming up). This is a big reason why the feelings of emptiness, depression and anxiety are so common these days.

I’m going to teach you how you can embrace these incredible leaps and bounds in humanity, while still feeling connected with our emotions, with some small Lifestyle Triggers in the form of a simple 3 step morning routine.

This is the best way to get started as the morning routine is short, simple and it becomes habit very easily. Then you can just get on with your day as normal.

Before I can teach you the routine you first need to understand the biological and psychological problem the Evolution Acceleration Effect creates…

Some Science…

It actually has something to do with our body too.

The main problem isn’t a psychological one but a biological one which is having a knock-on effect with your mental health and distorting your perspective, let me explain…

This problem is a physical disruption to your ‘Hormone Harmony’. This is a term I use to explain the balance between stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and feel-good neurotransmitters (chemical messages in the brain responsible for positive emotion, hopefulness and joy).

If you imagine a set of old weighing scales, you know the ones with 2 plates either side that compare 2 weights. One side is for stress hormones and the other for feel-good neurotransmitters. When you’re feeling fulfilled, energised, happy and peaceful, it’s because this set of scales is perfectly balanced. This means they complement each other and it creates serenity throughout your body and mind.

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Now the Negative Triggers created by the Evolution Acceleration Effect I spoke about, accumulate and fill the body with unnatural levels of stress hormones. This starts to weigh down the stress hormone scale. This has a negative effect on your feel-good neurotransmitter scale. When this happens these neurotransmitters stop working properly and the serenity is broken, this is a Negative Hormone Harmony Scale. This is when negative feelings such as emptiness begin to surface.

Sure, emptiness can be triggered by negative thoughts of situations. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it only becomes an uncontrollable problem that you can’t shake off when you have a Negative Hormone Harmony Scale. Because you can’t just snap out of it, this is when you’re at risk of stress, anxiety and depression.

The answer I’m going to teach you is in the form of a simple 3 step morning routine, filled with Lifestyle Triggers[1] that solve this problem. What’s great is it’s quick and easy to do, so it fits in with so many lifestyles.

Here’s the morning routine to shake off the feeling of emptiness.

Ok now the juicy stuff… The morning routine that helps to reset this scale…

This is what I want you to do…

So you wake up…

You might be having a good day or a bad day, either way do this straight away…

10 Minutes Of Flexible Exercise

This is a short burst of exercise that helps the body empty stress hormones and gives your feel-good neurotransmitters a recharge. Remember, exercise is a stress on the body and could increase stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. The difference with flexible exercise compared traditional exercise is it’s so short. This gives the body a chance to adapt to the stress therefore reducing stress hormones. I call this creating a ‘Positive Exercise Stress Axis’. This rebalances your hormone harmony scale, therefore reducing the feelings of emptiness.

Make sense? Good lets keep going.

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Furthermore, exercise selection is important, you want exercises that engage as much of the body as possible in a short time. To learn more about how you can use flexible exercise, check out this blog ‘Flexible Exercise‘.So now you have had a quick stress reliever and endorphin burst, you’re ready for the next step…

Write 2 Positive Mindset Prompts

This is a positive prediction about your day or your future. It can be many things; something that might be happening, a positive emotion, a person you are looking forward to seeing, a goal you want to achieve etc.

No matter how big or small, it’s important to acknowledge it. Write it down. If you’re feeling particularly empty at any point, have a look at it. Reconnect with it to help give you a positive perspective again. This helps to create a positive outlook on your future.

So I said 2 prompts…

One for the day (short term)

One for the future (long term)

This is a form of ‘Positive Self Talk’, if you need some guidance check out ‘Self-Talk Determines Your Success: 15 Tips‘.

Right now your mind is positively set, time for the correct nutrition.

Eat a Complete Meal

This is basically breakfast, I know what you’re thinking.

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‘Yeah breakfast can make my stomach feel less empty… But not emotionally less empty’

I hear you, let me explain…

Basically, a ‘Complete Meal’ is the perfect breakfast to help your body rebalance your Hormone Harmony Scale and stop feelings of emotional emptiness.

So, what’s a Complete Meal? I’m sure you’re keen to know.

Well, there are 2 key factors to a complete meal that help it fuel your brain ensuring optimal mental health.

Factor 1- A good balance of all 3 macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins). When the body is getting the correct ratio of all 3 of these it ensures your brain is getting a steady supply of energy. This helps to balance out your Hormone Harmony Scale.

Factor 2- Include foods that are high in micronutrients that help to rebalance your Hormone Harmony Scale. Foods high in magnesium, zinc and tryptophan will do this.

Make the Routine A Daily Habit

Being consistent is your biggest friend with these Lifestyle Triggers. Try to do them everyday. In general it takes 6 weeks to create a habit like this.

But you have to start somewhere, so what’s important is what you do right now, at this very moment while you have some motivational energy. So, I want you to stand up, take a deep breath, exhale, then get your diary, quickly plan out your routine for tomorrow and jot it down. Let’s do this!

Once this routine becomes habit and your Hormone Harmony Scale is optimal again, your perspective will become clearer and feelings of emptiness will begin to disappear.

Reference

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

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Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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