Through social media and social circles, Dr. Scott Lyons believes we are addicted to drama.
Lyons' new book, Addicted to Drama, touches on how cultivating drama can become a harmful stress response. The psychologist says that like "all addictions, it's hard to recognize it in ourselves," but that "there might be some way in which our whole nervous system is overreacting to life."
Are You Addicted to Drama?
"It's not always so tangible to understand it beyond our own exhaustion from being around someone who's in a constant crisis, in a constant chaos," he tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "And like a tornado, they bring you into it through gossip or jumping from one issue to the next, or one challenge in relationship to the next, that's kind of like a chronic way of bringing suffering into one's own life."
Lyons says that these behaviors can stem from stress, as well as the inability to feel satisfaction. This manifests in some people as keeping busy with work and social events to avoid time alone, or to avoid facing their inner thoughts and problems.
"You can recognize it by the inability to settle because settling in calmness does not equal safety for these individuals," he explains. "It means that settling and softening will bring them closer to the underlying pain that they're avoiding.
Dr. Lyons on Healing Drama Addiction
While Lyons says mindfulness exercises can help address this behavior in yourself, you can distance yourself from it in others by establishing boundaries, and holding firm to them.
"You need to go heal yourself. You need to go process the stress that is that you're picking up from them," Lyons says, adding, "Another big piece, in terms of boundaries is how much are you willing to tolerate of their intensity."
Social media is also "a big part" of the "global drug of drama," as Lyons says "we're constantly being fed kind of an exaggerated story of someone's life in exaggerated language to make sure that they get the likes." Current events can also play a part.
"One of the things that's also really important is noticing how much media are you intaking?" Lyons asks. "How much news are you intaking? What point have you gotten enough to be informed and not be overwhelmed?"
For more interviews like this, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.