8 signs you are running from your emotions.

Why you are running from your emotions. 

There are a couple different things that play here. One being that you may not have been taught emotional awareness and proper emotional regulation tools so when you feel strong emotions, you may get overwhelmed and try to push them away by any means possible.

The second piece at play here is fear. There may be fear because you lack the emotional regulation tools, and therefore do not understand what you are feeling, why are you are feeling it, and how to manage it. The other component of fear is a fear of being out of control. Sometimes strong emotions make you feel like you have lost control of your own mind and body which creates panic and initiates the “how do I get away from this as fast as possible” mindset.

You get uncomfortable when other people express emotions, especially “negative” emotions.
Feeling overwhelmed with other people's emotions may be a sign that you are running from your emotions.

If you are running from your emotions because you are uncomfortable with feeling your own emotions, then it would make sense that you become uncomfortable when around other people who are expressing emotions. This is especially true for negative emotions. Most of the time people do not mind being around people who are happy and express cheerfulness and joy, but if you do not have the awareness and tools to regulate your own emotions, then you could feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and out of control when around other people who are expressing strong negative emotions.

You avoid certain situations.

If you were running from your emotions, then you will not willingly put yourself in a situation that will evoke strong emotions. If being with your family creates feelings of shame and anxiety, then you will likely find excuses to get out of family get-togethers. When you do get together with your family, you may find that you drink a lot more alcohol as it means to cope with the strong emotions that being with your family provokes.

You pack your schedule so that you are constantly doing something.
The need to be busy all the time may be a sign that you are running from your emotions.

Idle time means time that thoughts and emotions can creep up and come into your awareness. If you are running from your emotions, you will likely keep as busy as possible. This may look like being a workaholic, always saying yes to helping others, volunteering places, constantly cleaning your house, or having several different hobbies. You will try to find anything and everything you can do to keep going to prevent having idle time.

You hate being alone.

This one piggybacks off the last one. Being alone means there is more of a chance of those emotions creeping up. You don’t have other people to focus your attention on or constant conversation with another person to keep you distracted. It is more likely you will start having internal conversations with yourself, your mind will start to wander, and emotions could come at you full force.

You have trouble sleeping.

This one also piggybacks off the last one. When you are running from your emotions, you tend to do things to keep your mind and body busy. It is like each day you are running down a hill with all your emotional baggage rolling after you. You do a great job at running fast during the day. You stay busy and distracted.

But then bedtime comes, and you stop running. Everything slams into you all at once. So, you lay awake for hours because now your mind is thinking about the things you ran from all day. Another problem you may have is having nightmares. Your brain will try to process through stuff while you are sleeping, and it often shows up as strange dreams or nightmares. For this reason, you may find you wake up several times at night and never get a full night’s rest.

You are tired all the time.

Clearly if you are not sleeping well then you will be tired during the day. But running from your emotions also consumes a ton of energy which adds to the constant tiredness. You are meant to feel emotions and allow them to process in real-time. When you don’t allow that to happen, you are fighting against your own brain. It is a constant fight and exertion of energy to push the emotions down and avoid them at all costs. 

You have difficulty developing deep relationships.

When you’re running from your emotions, you tend to lack empathy. You have difficulty empathizing with other people because you must first acknowledge the emotion about a situation before empathizing with them. If you are running from your emotions, you also will not be willing to share the more personal details about yourself that deepen and strengthen the bonds in relationships.

You don’t feel real.

Detaching from your emotions often leads to detaching from your own body. This is because you feel your emotions in your body, and you come to view your body as the enemy.  Many individuals think they are running from the traumatic experience, when really they are running from the uncomfortable feeling in their body. Many individuals report feeling a loss of control in their own body, and they disconnect as a form of protection. 

How do you stop running from your emotions? 

The first step is to acknowledge if you engage in any of these behaviors. If you do, then it is likely that you are trying to avoid your emotions. There are several different tools you can use to learn how to become aware of your emotions and learn to regulate them instead of avoiding them. I have a detailed blog about that here. If there is fear of feeling out of control in your own body, I would recommend meditation to reorient yourself with mind-body connection and become comfortable in your own mind and body again.