Moment Of Clarity

Negative Emotions are Addictive

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We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

You can submit questions via and don’t fret, we’ll keep your name and identity confidential.

What’s just as addictive as cocaine, crack or heroine? Negativity! In fact, negative emotions are so addictive that our brains will actually seek out experiences and situations that evoke negative feelings.

The same area of the brain that seeks out pleasure also seeks pain. You may be wondering why this happens, well, it’s really simple: Negative emotions activate both the beta-endorphine and dopamine pathways in our brains.

These are the same pathways to activate pleasure; and people who are addicted to negativity get the same payoff as those who use drugs.

You can read more about it in one of my favorite Huffington Post blogs (an oldie, but still a goodie!).


I’ve created a short questionnaire to see if you are addicted to negativity. Answer the questions and tell me how you faired!

1) Do you find yourself being surrounded by the same “type” of drama and people no matter where you go?

2) Is it hard to make friends with people who are happy?

3) Are you the one your friends come to when things go badly?

4) Do you find yourself creating drama when things are going well?

5) Do you find fault with most things/people/circumstances? (Even if you give a compliment, do you find something that could be done better?)

6) Do you find yourself becoming angry for no reason, especially when things are going well?

7) Do you find yourself making excuses for your negative friends and family?

8) Is it hard for you to be around positive and happy people for a long time?

9) Do you feel comfortable around people with problems or drama?

10) If you removed yourself from the drama or negative people in your life, would you be alone?

If you answered “yes” to at least three of the questions, then you may be addicted to negativity.

The question becomes, how can you change your negative emotions and begin to live a more positive and fulfilling life? The answer is quite simple, but very hard to most people to do: Stop living in denial.


1) Find a therapist – QUICK! You may think you can beat the negativity addiction by yourself, but you can’t.  You need help because your awareness is limited to what you know and the only thing you know is your negative surroundings.  You need someone to assist you getting out of the negativity, healing emotionally, and living a happier, drama-free life.

2) Get away from your negative friends and family – or at least limit your involvement. Your surroundings need to change. If you are constantly surrounded by negativity, positivity has very few, if any, points of entry. If you don’t believe me, try this: tell your friends or family that you want to be more positive and see what they say. Some may agree with you and try to be less negative, while others may mock you.

3) Spend time alone. Like attracts like – it’s a rule that existed long before you and I were born. The only reason you are surrounded by negativity is because you are negative in some way. Spending time alone will allow you to become a little more open to seeing why you may be attracted to negativity.

4) Find people who are where you want to be. If like attracts like and you are looking for less negativity, then find people who are surrounded with little if any negativity and try to connect with them. This will take some time because you are trying to become less negative yourself. And, since they don’t surround themselves with negative people, you may not be invited in – just yet. Keep working on it and soon enough, you too, will enjoy the benefits of living a more positive and drama-free life!

I hope you found this helpful and as always, pleasant journeys!


Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!