Don’t “fight your demons”.... FEED them!
Most people have heard the saying “fight your demons.” Whether your “demons” come in the form of addiction, anger, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.- we are typically taught to FIGHT them. However, I believe that we should learn to FEED them- acknowledge them, comfort them, make peace with them, and learn how to live with them. Everyone’s
“demons” come in different forms, fashions, intensity, and presentation but if they are going to be within us, why fight them?
Fighting, ignoring, distracting, and avoiding our “demons” does not make them go away and only fuels their intensity by making them bigger, stronger, more powerful, and less manageable. Some examples of “fighting your demons,” can include:
Unhealthy distractions: risk taking behavior, substance use, procrastinating, etc.
Rumination: extreme and ongoing focus on depressive (or other mental health) symptoms and on the implications of those symptoms
Emotional numbing: shutting down feelings to provide relief from stress and anxiety.
Escape: changing behavior to avoid the situation and difficult feelings.
Intrusive thoughts: unwelcome or involuntary ideas and thoughts that may be upsetting and difficult to manage.
Deprecation: self-harm, disengagement, isolation, self-blaming
Anxious avoidance: avoiding situations or events that may cause upset. Inability to confront fears or unlearn faulty beliefs. Removing or avoiding such unpleasant experiences may cause the behavior to worsen.
When we can learn to acknowledge, accept, and comfort our “demons,” we learn how to FEED them, which lessens their intensity, power, strength, and allows us to be able to manage them more effectively. Once you become aware of what your “demons” are and make the conscious effort to gain a better understanding of them, you are able to learn how to live in peace with them. Examples of feeding your “demons” include:
Identifying and understanding cognitive distortions: thoughts that cause individuals to perceive reality inaccurately
Learning techniques for combating cognitive distortions: separating facts and feelings, reframing, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.
Cognitive restructuring: interrupting and redirecting destructive and self-defeating thought patterns
Healthy coping skills: self-care, mindfulness, meditation/relaxation techniques
Emotion regulation: manage negative and overwhelming emotions while increasing positive experiences