Tips To Free Yourself From Addictive Behavior
“Addictive behavior comes in more forms than you might initially imagine; physical, psychological, societal, financial & more. Being honest with yourself will give you the best chance of success as you seek to discover how best to address what you want to change in your life.”
~Addictive behavior is personal: your body, mind & experiences are unique. So must be your way out. Make it your mission to find it. *Personalize your plan of response, making sure it addresses who you really are. Example: Don’t program anything at 7 am, if you aren’t a morning person. It will set you up for failure & demoralization.
~Do not underestimate the power of dietary changes: they have created incredible progress with even the most intense addictive tendencies & habits. *Discover your body chemistry & genetic & environmental history to help discern what will help.Example: As a person with a hyper personality & a genetic predisposition to mood swings, I know that organic foods, spices & oils dramatically ease what might otherwise be a raging spirit.
~If you are not moving somehow, someway, every day, you are cutting your chances dramatically of finding your way to a healthier life. *It does not matter if it’s walking your dog, swimming, yoga classes or weekend dancing with the girls or soccer with the boys. It is part of a necessary chemical balancing act that will reinforce good choices, habits & general lifestyle. Example: Most people, when self-medicating, have simply not yet experimented with the natural high (Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins) the body produces when laughing, singing, dancing, working out, meditating or enjoying the love of people & pets. Drugs & alcohol don’t even come close, & are a chronically lonely, toxic, destructive high.
~Find something to believe in that’s bigger than you. *Spiritual connection, community service, mentoring kids or the otherwise disenfranchised, saving animals. All that matters is being a productive part of a bigger picture, once you have acknowledged your difficulty. It keeps everything in relative perspective, & promotes appreciation in your everyday life, often forgotten in tougher times. Example: When you spend time working with others, especially those who are vulnerable, you not only step outside your own pain, add warmth to someone or something else, but also come away with a new set of priorities in a refreshed & motivated frame of mind, not to mention a good karma bank.
~Beware of destination addiction. *Although looking to improve is always a good thing, thinking everything will always be better somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else, is a vortex that will keep you unhappy. Look carefully in your everyday to find the activities,pets & people who make you smile. These are the pleasures to acknowledge as valuable, & upon which to build your changes.Example: Cultivate being an active participant in every aspect of life, not only taking what you need, but giving freely, & acknowledging gratitude.
~Don’t be afraid to seek the assistance that will help, not sabotage your efforts. *Groups work for some people, individual therapy for others. Still others prefer a more private support system. Be assertive in seeking back up for your plans from a source that you believe will work for you. Example: I have always been comfortable telling my tale to utter strangers. The feedback I’ve received is untarnished, & usually very valuable, mainly because strangers have no vested interest in me, & I’m not beholden taking their advice, or not.
~The body & the mind prosper when engaged in routine activities, provided they aren’t too boring. *Look for activities that can keep you motivated & engaged, so you can master your changes, without losing interest & momentum. Example: I vary yoga, long walks with my dog, & aerobic fun (salsa & other dancing, Essentrics,etc…) & change it up whenever I feel mired.
~ Do not underestimate the time needed to review, revise & reapply. *Nothing happened overnight, so don’t program your disappointment or failure by expecting instant results. Example: If you’ve lived for years with destructive habits, take your time in addressing them. I call it taking “sticky steps”, because it is indeed a series that entails a few progress/default scenarios, so do create a plan & honor your commitment to it. You are your own best advocate. But be kind to yourself along the way if at first you don’t achieve stellar results.
The best advice anyone can give themselves or others is to ask the question “Does this habit or activity add real value to my life?” Once you have your honest answer, you’ll have a better idea of what to use as catalysts to keep you moving towards a productive, happier healthier life.