- Chocolate (especially mousse)
- Shoes (you know: heels!)
- Goats (witty and happy)
- My husband (genuine, honest and wise)
- Singing in the car
- Writing blogs
- Hanging out with positive friends (Cara, Susan, Steve, Bill to name a few)
- Pasta… of course!
- Dancing (whatever style)
- Me-time in the weekend (otherwise I go gaga)
Note: by no means am I advocating pursuing dangerous inflictions on your digestive system or otherwise by becoming a negative addict. An addiction that is harmful to yourself can never be a good thing.
Recognizing positive addiction
How can you tell whether a favorite activity such as playing golf or working jigsaw puzzles has grown beyond leisure activity into a positive addiction? According to Dr. William Glasser, author of Positive Addiction, the activity gives you such happiness and confidence that you:
· feel discomfort such as anxiety, sluggishness, irritability, etc. when deprived of it
In Coping with Addiction, psychologist A. Tom Horvath defines positive addiction as one in which the benefits outweigh the price. Exercise might not always feel easy or comfortable and playing the guitar can cost you in equipment and callused fingertips, but those risks aren’t as weighty as the perks of good health, improved mood, coping with stress, etc. Horvath applauds positive addictions as healthy substitutes for those struggling with negative addictions such as smoking, alcoholism, gambling, etc.
Since Horvath asserts that addictions are considered negative when the price outweighs the benefit, applying this formula to your own habits helps you know if a positive addiction is no longer positive for you. Your habit that seems harmless might not be if it impacts negatively on your health, relationships or work.
· you find it impossible to take a break from the activity, even for illness, a family crisis, etc.
· you continue the activity against your doctor’s orders and jeopardize your health
· you’ve started to exclude other pleasures from your life (such as time with loved ones, other hobbies)
· the activity is all you think and talk about
· loved ones express concern about your behavior
· you are concerned about your behavior
· the activity dominates your life
Here are a few scenarios that might help illustrate when a positive addiction has turned negative:
· continuing to run after your doctor warns that your knee needs a break from high impact
· refusing a break from exercise, golf, gardening, etc. when you have a fever, flu or other illness that requires rest
· being unable to stop knitting or sculpting even when you develop painful carpal tunnel syndrome
· increasing the time you spend on the Internet to the point that your family feels neglected
· not being able to agree with your loved ones on vacation plans for fear that you won’t have access to your activity for 1 week
If your passion is beginning to feel more like a prison, you’ll agree that it’s time to strive for balance. Sometimes you just can’t recognize how out of balance your life has become because of a habit until your loved ones complain about it. Ask those closest to you if they feel neglected or in any way concerned about an activity you consider a positive addiction. If you suspect that your good habit has gone bad, you can try the following:
· Moderate the activity—reduce the number of hours each week that you engage in it.
· Explore other interests that might meet the same need without threatening your health—replace running with biking or swimming; knitting with a craft that doesn’t bother your wrists; Web surfing with reading, puzzles, etc.
· Seek the help of a mental health professional if you fear your behavior is out of your control.
Well there you go! Monitor your chocolate intake…. And your work addiction. But that’s a story for another day. While I’m writing this I have decided I will go home and sing all the way home to my heart’s content. It won’t bother anyone as Nico’s taken our own car with me working late. Oh solo mio…… la la la la