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What are you addicted to?

There might be some surprises here for you
Blog 184 Addiction

When you hear the word ‘addiction’, you might automatically link it to substances, like drugs and alcohol, or to activities that stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain, like video gaming. You might also associate it with certain ‘nice-to-haves’, like coffee or sugar. But addiction expands much further afield, encompassing everything from plastic surgery to tanning and even feelings.

Many people consume things that are bad for them. Some of it we can almost justify, telling ourselves we indulge in the pleasure only as an occasional treat. People can be addicted to things that at face value appear healthy, such as exercise – an affliction that’s estimated to affect about 3% of the exercising population and 10% of high-performance runners. The pandemic has no doubt fostered its own unique set of addictions and coping mechanisms. Has anyone else’s credit card been getting a workout with extra online shopping?

All kinds of external influences fuel our addictions too. Think about the people or brands you follow on social media. Are you a regular on fashion feeds and find yourself with a wardrobe full of unworn items? Are you drawn to celebrities who share selfies of their ‘perfect’ bodies? Your feeds (and the time you spend on them) probably speak volumes about what matters most to you.

When it comes to medical matters, coaches leave advice-dispensing to the experts, like doctors and specialists. However, we do like to ask questions to determine what might be preventing you from unleashing the very best version of you.

Potential, performance and emotional health in all their forms are determined by behaviour, beliefs, values and experiences. Coaches are very interested to know whether you’re addicted to certain comforts or habits, so to identify the parts of your routine that are potentially sabotaging or undermining you, or stopping you from getting to where you need to be. Maybe you can’t go to sleep without music playing or are known to obsessively check your emails throughout the day (and night). People often bring a sense of overwhelm to coaching sessions, in terms of feeling really busy. Coaches sometimes get a strange look from clients when we ask: ‘Are you addicted to being busy?’

Some of these activities might seem so insignificant that you don’t see them as an addiction. Yet anything that triggers obsessive or compulsive behaviour, or causes dysfunction in your life, should raise a big red flag that something needs to change.

Our point is that being a grown-up is complex. You’re made up of all your life experiences. There is literally only one of you on this planet. And it can be easy to underestimate the lengths we go to for that quick dopamine hit.

Here’s some coaching questions to think about:

  • What are the habits, addictions and rituals you have that don’t serve you?
  • What are the consequences of the unhealthy habits and addictions you have?
  • Should you talk to someone about them or seek advice?
  • What could you do differently tomorrow?

If you’ve identified any addictive behaviours or habits that you want to break, check out this TED Talk (09:15), in which psychiatrist Judson Brewer explores the relationship between mindfulness and addiction and offers a pretty simple tactic to help you beat unwelcome urges.

– The Coach Place Global

Image by @raimondklavins

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