Take a Break
Revisiting: Drinking When I Feel Good
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Many of us use drinking to numb negative emotions. Over time this creates a habit of needing a drink to manage your negative emotion.
The same thing occurs when we try to augment positive emotions; our positive emotions start to not feel as good without a drink.
This week, learn how to move away from augmenting positive emotions and drinking when you feel good. Discover why augmenting emotions has a huge impact on your brain, experience, and habit, and how to practice the skill of finding peace and contentment in the moment.
What You’ll Discover
How all emotions are linked to habits.
What you teach your brain when you augment positive emotions.
How to savor positive emotions and the importance of this practice.
Featured on the show
You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, Episode 332.
Whether you want to drink less or stop drinking, this podcast will help you change the habit from the inside out. We’re challenging conventional wisdom about why people drink and why it can be hard to resist temptation. No labels, no judgment, just practical tools to take control of your desire and stop worrying about your drinking. Now, here’s your host, Rachel Hart.
Okay, my friends, let’s talk about emotions. This is an area where I’m really a broken record. I find that emotions, especially when it comes to drinking, is something that a lot of people really resist. And I can really understand why. I think there’s a lot of stereotype about the idea of being a sad drunk, or the idea that the reason that you’re drinking a lot is because something’s really wrong, or you’re super depressed.
What I want you to consider, and the reason why I talk about emotions so much, is that there are lots of reasons why you drink. There are lots of reasons why you have desire. But if you stay in the place of, “I just like to drink, it just tastes good. It’s what I’ve always done. I’m just someone who is an all-or-nothing person. I just have a tendency to go overboard.” If you stay in that place, you’re really going to deny yourself the opportunity to truly understand how the habit is working.
Because what I am teaching you guys on this podcast, day in, day out, is the idea that your actions don’t just happen. What you do, whether or not you reach for a glass, you reach for more, you order another, what you do, is created by not just what you’re thinking, not just what’s unfolding in your mind, but how you are feeling.
And so, all of those reasons that you have to explain why it’s hard for you to say no, or why it is hard for you to put the glass down, I’m not saying that none of them are true. I just want you to consider that there may be more to the habit than meets the eye. I want you to consider this emotional piece, and that we can’t ignore that your feelings, negative or positive, play a role.
I talk a lot about negative emotions. I talk a lot about the ways in which we can use a drink in order to feel a little less anxious, open up a little bit more, feel a little bit more at ease. But the fact of the matter is that it also happens with positive emotions as well. Right? The idea of, “It’s a celebration. I’m having a good time. Now I feel more desire.”
I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, I’ve talked about the idea of augmenting emotions. But I want to revisit it, because really, the last time that I did an episode all about augmenting emotions, was way back in 2018. And I see that, although I talk about it, it’s something that comes up again and again, as a stumbling block.
Where someone will say, “You know what? There’s like no negative emotion here, Rachel. I’m not feeling anxious. I’m not feeling deprived. I’m feeling really good. And then, I notice that I have all this desire.” And so, I want you to consider that numbing emotions, the ways in which we say, “Ugh, I feel a little anxious. I don’t want to feel that. I want to have less of this feeling.” And augmenting emotions, this idea of, “I feel good. I feel happy. I feel celebratory. I want more of this feeling,” actually look very, very similar.
And on top of that, because I find also, this is a place where a lot of people feel a lot of internal resistance. Not just around the emotional component, but also the idea of augmenting emotions, right? What I am teaching you here, and why it’s important, is not about labeling this as a bad or wrong or negative behavior. It’s not about going around and acting like it’s better or more virtuous if you’re just experiencing your positive emotions purely. None of that really matters, it’s not even true.
But you have to really understand what your brain is learning in each situation. Because when you do want to change your relationship with alcohol, when you do want to say no, when you do want to drink less, if you don’t understand what’s going on, this will be a stumbling block.
And so, over time, when you numb a negative emotion with a drink, you’re reaching for that drink to feel more at ease, to feel more relaxed, to feel less anxiety, to no longer be bored.
When you’re using a drink to numb a negative emotion, two things happen. One, your brain starts to look to a drink to handle the emotion, right? So, the emotion comes up, and it’s like, okay, if I had a drink, this will be a lot easier. You start to feel a little bit less capable of handling it on your own.
A lot of you have this experience of going to a party and you find yourself maybe making a beeline to the bar or a beeline to the kitchen. You want to pour yourself a drink, get that drink in your hand, right? Because over time, maybe at first, maybe you had a little anxiety, maybe it felt a little awkward, and your brain was like, “Hey, listen, I found the solution. We don’t have to feel this. We just have a drink, and it kind of dulls that feeling a little bit.”
So, not only do you start to look to a drink to handle the emotion, not only do you feel a little less capable of dealing with it on your own, but here’s the big but when it comes to numbing, the negative emotion starts to feel more intense. Because when you feel less capable of handling it on your own, guess what you’ve added to the mix? You’ve added a little bit of fear, right? That negative emotion starts to have a little bit more intensity, we dislike it more and more. That’s what’s going on with numbing.
But something very similar is happening when you find yourself routinely augmenting positive emotions. Maybe you start to look to a drink to create more enjoyment. “It would just be better. I’d feel happier. This would be more enjoyable with a drink.” The thing that ends up happening is you start to feel a little less capable of really having that good time without the drink.
I talk about this in an episode, all about “Creating Vs. Consuming Fun”. Well, it happens with enjoyment too. Our brain starts to look to it as like, oh, this is how I have a really good time. This is how I fully celebrate. How I fully enjoy myself. But here’s the other thing that’s happening, you also start to decrease your sensitivity to positive emotions. Because now all of a sudden, your brain is like, okay, sure, happy feels good.
But without this concentrated reward, without this additional dopamine that my brain is getting, happy kind of feels like something is missing. Right? Something’s missing from it, something is lacking. And that’s just an important piece of the habit cycle to understand. That all of a sudden, you’re feeling happy, and your brain is using that as a cue, hey, let’s have a drink.
You start to notice yourself feeling desire. You start saying yes to the drink. And the result, the piece that I think a lot of times we don’t understand, is that all of a sudden, this positive emotion, it no longer feels totally satisfying on its own. And this is where people will run into trouble.
Again, I’m not saying that it is bad or wrong to augment a positive emotion. Humans have been using drugs and alcohol as a way to alter our experience for thousands of years. It has nothing to do with making a moral judgment or labeling it as right and wrong. It’s just about understanding how this happens.
So that if you do decide, “Hey, you know what? I want to change my relationship with alcohol. Maybe I want to drink less. Maybe I want to stop. Maybe I want to take an extended break. I want something to change.” If you decide to do that work, and then suddenly you’re like, “Some things are just less enjoyable. How come I’m always feeling this desire when I’m having a good time?” I just want you to understand this. I want you to understand what is happening beneath the surface so that you can start to change.
Now, the great news is that your brain is amazing at recalibrating. Just because it feels like something is missing from these happy moments, or something is missing from these positive emotions, doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be stuck in this place. Doesn’t mean that you’re always going to have this sensation of something is missing, right? It’s just not as satisfying on its own.
And in fact, what I think the amazing piece of the think-feel-act cycle and the work that I teach, is that you can actually start to deepen your experience and your sensitivity of positive emotions just by learning how to be present with them. Just by learning how to fully savor the emotion, instead of being in this place of constantly searching for like, where’s my reward? Where’s the thing that’s going to make this better?
So, I really encourage all of you to revisit this episode, Episode #60. I did it back in 2018; all about Augmenting Positive Emotions. Relisten to this because this is, I think, one of the misunderstood pieces of habit change. And I say this all the time, if it feels like you’re missing out, if things feel less enjoyable, less celebratory, less pleasurable, that’s a problem. That’s something that needs to be addressed.
I think, so often, changing our relationship with alcohol, we have this sense of, okay, well, I’m healthy. I’m not enjoying things as much. But at least I’m healthy. I don’t actually believe that we have to make this choice. And I think, when it feels as if we have to choose between being healthy, liking the decisions that we make, or enjoying life, feeling good, pleasure, that’s actually a problem. Doesn’t have to be a choice between these two.
In fact, when you really understand how to augment positive emotions on your own, you start to see that you can create more sensitivity. You can actually create more pleasure and more enjoyment. So, take a listen again to Episode #60 “Augmenting Positive Emotions”. Revisit it, because this concept in here, is one that so many people stumble on.
I’ve been working with this woman for a while, and one of the things that we’ve been talking about is really understanding how the think-feel-act cycle applies to how she shows up at work. Because the think-feel-act cycle applies to everything, not just drinking. Everything, everywhere in our lives, all of our relationships, there it is.
So, she had been preparing for this presentation, and it was a presentation that she had anxiety about. She had some stress about it, but she had been doing a lot of work to prepare and to go in with a different mindset and to show up differently by using the think-feel-act cycle. By paying attention to what she was thinking and feeling, and working to shift that on purpose.
She gave this presentation, and it went really well. The presentation went really well. She was really happy, and she was telling me about this. She was telling me about this victory that she had at work, for something that she had worried about for a while. And one of the things that she related was that when she was driving home from work that day, she watched and instead of her brain automatically searching for a reward, which so many of us are in the habit of doing, right?
Something good happens and we’re immediately like, “How can I celebrate? Am I going to have a drink? Am I going to eat something? Are we going to go out to a restaurant?” We’re so often in that place of something positive happening and then looking, waiting, anticipating that coming reward. But instead, she just allowed herself to be present with what she was feeling.
She allowed herself to really go into and really feel and savor those positive emotions. To really understand, what does pride feel like? What does victory feel like? What am I experiencing right now? And it was a totally different experience for her, because instead of anticipating this reward of dopamine from food or alcohol to celebrate her accomplishment, she just allowed herself to be present with all the positive emotions that she was experiencing.
And we talked about how different that was. How different it is to allow yourself to fully experience a positive emotion rather than immediately focusing on, “Okay, I have a positive emotion, how am I going to get some dopamine to augment it? Where’s that real reward going to come from?” That’s what I want to talk to you guys about today.
I want you to really understand what happens when we savor a positive emotion. What happens when we immediately rush to augment it. When we are turning to dopamine, usually in the form of food or alcohol or buying ourselves something, to augment that positive emotion. Why we want to do that in the first place, right? Why do we want to improve upon our positive emotions? And what we’re teaching our brains when we do.
That’s what we’re going to be focusing on. I talk all the time about using alcohol and using drink and the dopamine reward that your brain gets, is a way to numb or turn down the volume on negative emotions. And so, you’ve heard me talk about that a lot in the podcast.
But I have gotten this question over and over from people. Well, Rachel, what about when I turn to a drink because I’m feeling good? What about when I’m celebrating? When I’m happy? When it’s cozy? What about that? Is that a problem?
Now, you might guess that my response will be the same response I always give, do you like the results you are getting? That is the first and most important place for all of you to focus. I’m not going to tell you whether or not it is a problem, but I do want you to understand what is happening in your brain when you do this.
So, that’s the first question. Do you like the results you are getting when you augment positive emotions with the concentrated reward of dopamine that you get from drinking? Let’s talk about what happens and why we get in the habit of doing that, so that you can understand that for yourself and then decide if you like the results you’re getting.
Now, I’m always asking all of you to really tune into what’s happening when you experience a negative emotion in your body. What does it really feel like? What are those physical sensations? This is a new and foreign, and often times, difficult concept for a lot of you. It was for me too because that is not where I’m used to going.
When I was feeling a negative emotion, where I immediately went to was my head. “I hate this, this is terrible. When is it going to go away? Why do I always feel like this?” I immediately started spinning on my thoughts. What I was not used to paying attention to was, okay, when you’re feeling anxious, when I’m feeling insecure, when I’m feeling lonely, what’s actually happening?
I’m telling myself, “It’s terrible, it’s terrible, it’s terrible, I hate feeling this way.” But what do I actually hate about it? Because when you start to tune into the physical sensations that happen when you are experiencing any emotion, what you notice is that they may not match up. In fact, I would argue they really never match up with our thoughts about the emotion.
When we tune in, we might notice that our chest is tightening and that our breathing is shallow. We might feel tension or pressure in different parts of our body. But when you start to really understand that, then you can have a conversation around, okay, is this something I have to immediately cover up? Is it something I have to immediately move away from? Do I have to pour myself a drink or eat something, in order to give my brain dopamine so I don’t have to experience my chest tightening, or tension in my muscles?
So, I’m talking about this a lot with you guys, but what I haven’t talked as much about is, hey, well, what happens when you feel a positive emotion? Because you feel that in your body, as well. Your chest expands, your breathing deepens, your muscles may relax, you may feel warmth, you may feel tingling, pleasant tingling sensations, or goose bumps.
You have all these very pleasant physical sensations happening, but my guess, because it was true for me, is that you are not used to really tuning into either what your negative emotions feel like in your body, or what your positive emotions feel like in your body. And if you don’t know what your positive emotions feel like, well, how can you possibly savor them? How can you possibly really be with them?
What that client of mine was talking about was such a different shift for her. She had this victory at work, and she felt satisfied, She felt proud, she felt victorious, and she was able to actually really feel those emotions, really be present with them instead of having her attention elsewhere. Focusing on anticipating how she was going to reward herself with dopamine.
When you savor anything, a positive emotion, what you’re doing is you are immersing yourself fully in it. You are allowing yourself to plunge into the experience. It is washing over you. You are fully engrossed and absorbed in feeling how that positive emotion feels in your body.
When your brain immediately turns to look for a reward, when you immediately turn to where am I going to get dopamine, to augment what you are experiencing, you can’t possibly savor it. Because your attention is pulled away from your body. It’s pulled away from that present moment and it’s in the future, waiting for that “better something” to come along. We cannot savor our positive emotions if our attention is elsewhere.
I want you to really think about that. So, something really good is happening, you are feeling a positive emotion. Which listen, every single person that I talk to says they want more of, “I just want to feel better. I just want to feel happier. I just want to feel calmer. I just want to feel proud of myself.” Every single person I talk to says they want it, but then the immediate reaction in the brain is to move away from it. And to start thinking about, “How can I get that concentrated reward of dopamine?”
I think that’s a really important piece to understand. We say we want more positive emotions, but then we’re always looking to augment them with dopamine. And here’s the thing, when you augment something, what you’re doing is you are adding something; in this case, dopamine; in order to improve or complete it. You’re adding something in order to improve or complete something else.
Now, my question is this, in the case of your positive emotions, why do we believe that they need improving or completing? Why on earth are we telling ourselves that they are incomplete or lacking just as they are?
I actually have heard from multiple people, “I cannot tell you. I wish that this was my case. I do not have this situation.” I hear from multiple people. They say, “You know what I do in the evenings? I sit outside with my partner on our porch, and we watch the sunset together with a glass of wine.” Now listen, I so wish this was my case. I do not have a porch or a good vantage point to see the sunset.
I want you to imagine yourself in these situations. Because people will say, “This is my habit. This is our routine. This is what we do. And now, I’m trying to take a break, I don’t have that glass of wine, and it kind of stinks.” I want you to imagine that this is you, and you’re sitting on a porch watching the sunset. You have all these thoughts about how stunning the colors are and how peaceful it is and how lucky you are. And your thoughts are creating all these emotions of gratitude, joy, wonder, awe.
But now, let’s say that you’re habitually adding a glass of wine to augment those emotions and that experience. You are adding dopamine to the gratitude, joy, wonder. And imagine that this becomes your regular habit. Guess what’s going to happen when you take that glass of wine away?
Suddenly you are sitting on your porch, looking at the same sunset, sitting there with your partner, but something feels wrong. This isn’t as much fun. You don’t enjoy it as much. Something is missing. I want you to really think about that. Suddenly, just because you’ve gotten into the habit of adding dopamine to augment positive emotions, when it’s just you and your positive emotions, minus the dopamine, all of a sudden, you’re like, “This isn’t so good. I don’t like it so much.” Right?
But what you have done, I want you to really think about this, what you have done, is you have turned down the volume on gratitude, joy, and wonder. And suddenly, those emotions have been dampened. They feel a bit lackluster because you are so used to experiencing them and then adding dopamine to augment them.
I want you to really think about this. Why are humans in such a rush to augment everything? And why in the world do we ever want to put ourselves in the position where we have gotten into the habit of having a glass of wine or drinking whenever we feel a positive emotion? So, that then when we don’t, those positive emotions don’t feel as good? Right? The volume has been turned down on them.
I think the problem is that so many of us have no idea, we have no clue, because no one teaches us how to be with any emotion, much less a positive one; how to truly feel it, how to savor it. And so, what we’re constantly rushing to do, is either numb the negative emotions that we’re so sure we can’t tolerate feeling. Or rushing to augment the positive emotions that we’re so sure need improving. Because we’re so disconnected from our bodies.
I’ll tell you this, look, I don’t ever want to experience the sunset and be sitting there and be like, “You know what? I just feel like something’s missing. It’s lovely, but you know, it’s a little lackluster.” So, if you heard Episode 32, this is the episode where I’m talking all about the habit cycle. In it, I talk about going to see a solar eclipse last summer in Jackson, Wyoming. And I’ll tell you, I mean if you listen to it, it blew my mind. Literally, I was like, “Guys, this is magic.”
I was in total awe and wonderment at what was happening. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I mean, I was expecting something good, but it was way beyond what I expected. And I remember when I was there, we were with a group of people. Because there were a lot of people out in Jackson who all were watching the solar eclipse.
And I remember someone offered me a Screwdriver, and I said no obviously. But my brain was like, I remember at that moment, my brain was slightly dumbfounded. I was like, “Wait, what? Guys, magic is about to happen. What? Why are you drinking? Do not miss out on the magic.”
So now, keep in mind, if you’ve never seen a solar eclipse before… It started in the morning. It started around 10, if I remember correctly, and solar eclipses, they don’t happen in a split second. It took about three hours from start to finish. I wanted to be out there, and I wanted to see the whole thing. So, I was sitting there, and I was just listening to these people that I was with getting kind of progressively more and more drunk.
It was fascinating, because here I was, sitting there, and I was having such an intense, positive emotional experience, without any dopamine. I was kind of quiet. I was just so fully in it, in what I was experiencing, and just how magical I thought everything was. And then, I was with this group and a bunch of them were drinking screwdrivers, kind of one after another, and they were really chatty, they were really laughing.
I remember being like, “God, our two experiences are so different.” And when the eclipse was over, I remember everybody kind of rushed to move on. That whole group was like, “Okay, done, over with,” and they were headed back inside. And I wanted to be like, “Guys, hello, can we talk about what just happened? My mind is blown. It was incredible.”
I was still feeling it so intensely, and I felt like I had this kind of positive buzz going on in my body. Not just an hour after, but that whole day and days after. It just felt so strong to me. And everybody was just packing up so quickly, moving on to the next thing. I remember, at the time I didn’t really get it.
But as I think back on it now, and I remember day drinking. I remember especially, weekends in New York City. If I would go out to brunch and I’d start with a mimosa. Right? If the day drinking didn’t keep going, I would feel terrible by the time afternoon rolled around. Do you remember this?
It was like you had to keep your day drinking going. You had to keep that buzz going, otherwise you got into this just kind of like, ugh, gross, groggy, headachy feeling. At least, that’s what would happen to me. And so, it was fascinating to have this experience and watch these people experiencing the exact same thing, but one, feeling like they needed to augment it. And two, that it didn’t seem like the experience lasted as long for them. I don’t know, it was really fascinating for me.
But I’ll tell you, listen, a couple years ago, when I was in the habit of augmenting all my positive emotions, I would have been the first person to be like, “Yes, Screwdrivers. We’re sitting outside for three hours to watch the sun, right? Obviously, we need something else to help this along, right?”
So, don’t get me wrong, I would have been the first person to augment my positive emotions because I was not used to tuning into them either. I was much more into anticipating the dopamine that was going to come. Really, I mean, I was really all just about the dopamine. The question that I get on this is, “Well, okay Rachel. Well, what’s the problem? We’re all adults. If it’s legal, it feels good, why not augment? Why not make things better? Why not have positive emotions and improve them?” And I think that’s a really good question.
But what I want to ask you first, is do you really know what you’re trying to augment and complete and improve upon in the first place? Are you really so tuned in to your positive emotions that you’re like, “Yeah, let’s make it better. Joy and awe and wonder and gratitude and contentment, they’re okay. But I need to amp them up.”
So, if you really believe that you’re totally tuned into them and augmentation is the way you want to go, cool. But my guess is, because I know so many of you are not used to tuning in to your negative emotions, that I’m sure you’re not tuning in, you’re not savoring, your positive emotions as well. Because I certainly didn’t know how to do either. I didn’t know how to tune in to anything when it came to an emotion in my body.
And the second thing to consider is, you know what? Augmentation does not come without costs, there is a downside. And listen, here’s the thing, those downsides may be worth it to you, and that’s totally okay. But just know that they’re there.
So, when you are having a drink, your body then has to deal with it. You’re going to have to deal with the resulting dehydration, maybe a little headachy, maybe a little fuzziness or fogginess, the extra calories. Your body has to go on a mission to then deal with the alcohol that you put into its body.
There is that potential downside. But I do think there’s also the downside of what habitually augmenting positive emotions does to your overall experience of positive emotions. Do they feel as good if you’re always used to reaching for something to try to improve upon them or make them better? I think they don’t.
I think a lot of time what happens, is you’re like these people that I talked to watching the sunset, that are like, “I don’t know, I just don’t enjoy the sunset as much.” Right? And I’m like, “That sucks. Why would I want to be in that situation?”
And here’s the crazy thing that’s happened since taking a break. I feel like all my positive emotions have been totally amped up. Isn’t that nuts? And I will tell you, I was not expecting this. I didn’t think, going in, “Hey, things in life are going to feel so much better.” That was not what I thought going into it. I had no idea that it was going to feel as if, I don’t know, like someone had just turned way up all my positive emotions.
Because I learned to actually savor them. I learned how to actually be present with them. I learned how to be in the moment instead of anticipating some sort of future reward to improve upon them. When I decided to take a break, I was forced to pay attention to what my negative emotions felt like in my body. Because that’s what I was so often using alcohol to move away from, was that negative emotion.
But doing so taught me how to really pay attention to those positive emotions in my body, as well. I had no idea that I was teaching myself to do this skill, and it’s such a great skill to have.
The other thing, because I wasn’t always looking for a reward with a drink, I could be fully present with what was happening. I wasn’t anticipating something to come. My brain wasn’t in this future moment where things are going to be even better. I was in this moment, the current moment, and it was great.
And you know what? I think about all the moments t in my life, in the last couple of years, that in the past I would have definitely been like, “Yeah, let’s celebrate with a drink,” right? I definitely would have been augmenting a positive emotion.
I think about the birth of my first niece and nephew. I took the plunge and left my job at New York City to start a business. I got engaged. I published a book. I got married. We went on a honeymoon. I launched a podcast. I got certified as a Master Life Coach. And I hit my first big financial goal as an entrepreneur.
All of those things, in the past, would have definitely been like, “Yes, augment, let’s do it.” I just was able to savor all the positive emotions that came with these moments. And I will tell you, I truly feel like my emotions are supercharged. I feel my positive emotions so much more intensely because I’m really in the moment. I’m really savoring them. I’m fully engrossed. They’re washing over me.
My attention isn’t elsewhere. I’m not waiting for, “Okay, when am I going to get that drink so I can really celebrate?” And that to me, that ability to really savor your positive emotions, I think that that is the real reward. So many of us don’t know how to do that. I didn’t know how to do that for the longest time. But I will tell you that there is a huge reward in that.
So, is it a problem to augment your positive emotions? Is it a problem to look to improve upon or complete them? Well, the first question is, do they really need improvement or completion? I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem if you decide to do this. Of course, my focus is for you always to ask, do you like the results that you’re getting? And you may like the results that you’re getting.
But I do want you to understand what you’re teaching your brain. And if you habitually are looking to augment your positive emotions, you will, I promise, at some point, start to feel like there is something missing from them, especially if you ever take that drink away, or food; people do the same thing with food.
I don’t want you to feel like anything is missing from joy, wonder, awe, pride, love, gratitude, excitement. I don’t want you to feel like any of those emotions are lackluster or less than. Because suddenly, these are moments that are so amazing. These moments that we say we want more of, these feelings that we say we want more of, suddenly it’s like they don’t measure up.
Because the brain is so used to drinking and eating as the real celebration, the real reward, getting that concentrated form of dopamine, that all of these amazing emotions just don’t seem amazing on their own anymore.
And here’s the thing, if you either want to take a break or you are taking a break right now, you will have to go through a readjustment period. I did, too. You’re going to have to teach your brain what it’s like to experience this emotion without rewarding it with food or drink. And at first, your brain will tell you that something is missing. But once your brain learns that it’s not going to get the reward, it will calm down. And that’s when you can start to learn how to really dive into the positive emotion.
Now, you cannot do this if you just move from one reward to, “We’re having champagne. Let’s crack open the bottle,” to another reward. Like, where’s the ice cream? Where’s the chocolate cake? You have to be able to just allow yourself, just like my client did, allow yourself to be totally into what is happening. Totally into that positive emotion, instead of being focused elsewhere.
If your attention is elsewhere, it’s on getting that some type of reward. You cannot truly savor what you are experiencing. But if you learn to do this, what I promise is this, you will discover that there is so much more joy, so much more wonder, so much more awe, so much more contentment, more gratitude, more love, to experience. The positive emotion that you are experiencing right now, I promise, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Because I guarantee, that you are not fully in it. You are not fully savoring it.
When I decided that I was going to take a break from drinking, and I was going to really use this time to understand the habit and understand why I had so much desire and why I felt so deprived and I was missing out when I didn’t have a glass in my hand, I believed that I was headed towards a life that would be healthier. And I believed that I was headed towards a life that would be free of regret and embarrassment from having had too much to drink the night before.
But I had no clue. I didn’t even understand that this was on the horizon. That I was headed to something so much better. And the reason that is, the reason it feels like my positive emotions are supercharged and are way better than any dopamine, is because I have learned how to fully be in them.
And I will promise you, there is no downside to that. There is no downside to just savoring joy and wonder and awe and contentment and gratitude and love. And whatever else positive emotions there are out there.
So, think about that. Think about it today, why you’re looking to celebrate? Whether or not you actually believe that this positive emotion isn’t enough? Is somehow incomplete or missing something, needs to be improved upon? And whether or not you actually want to learn how to just savor that positive emotion? Because I tell you, it’s so, so, so worth it.
Alright everybody, as always, if you have questions, if you would like me to talk about a specific issue on the podcast, just drop me a line at email@example.com. Otherwise, I will see you guys next week.
Okay, listen up. Changing your drinking is so much easier than you think. Whether you want to drink less or not at all, you don’t need more rules or willpower. You need a logical framework that helps you understand and, more importantly, change the habit from the inside out.
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