Why it’s so important to distract yourself from resentment

When you’ve been injured, it’s hard to stop the mental “instant replays” of your disappointment, resentment, betrayal, or other upsetting incident from your mind.

For example, resentment is the number one cause for why alcoholics drink. In most cases, bitterness damages or threatens an alcoholic’s self-esteem, finances, security, ambitions, or personal relationships. For an alcoholic, feelings of resentment set off grave, often fatal, drinking binges.

The same dangers that angry alcoholics face also lurk for anyone—and especially someone dealing with mental health issues. For most people, resentment is a huge, if not the number one, trigger for other addiction relapses, depressions, manias, anxieties, panic attacks, paranoias, obsessive control behaviors, delusions, and hallucinations.

To stop mentally repeating your verbal or emotional abuse, do something—anything—that will temporarily take your mind off your grievance. Try going to a movie, watching TV, taking a walk, engaging in a hobby, playing with your pet, sleeping—whatever will take your mind off obsessing over your recent hurt.

Sometimes just praying or meditating can be enough to distract yourself from anger and anxiety, but often you’ll need to do more. Experiment until you find what is the most helpful positive distraction for you to use when in inner turmoil.

For more information on dealing with resentment, please see: Alcoholics Anonymous; The Big Book, 4th edition, pages 164–167.

Action Step: On a scale of 1–10, with 10 being the best, score how well you handled your resentments this week. Think of ways you can do better next week.

This is an excerpt from my book, 9 Critical Steps to Take in a Mental Health Crisis. To find out more, please click here.


Hi, I'm Jim. I've been through the emotional wringer. I've been a successful pastor and leader and a loving father, but I've also been suicidally depressed. I'll teach you the techniques I used to heal myself, and give you the tools to reclaim your life and move forward!

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