How many of us sometimes feel like we’re sleepwalking through life? You might be thinking, “Me? No way! I’m usually busy. I work hard and I’m exhausted from all I do. I’m definitely not sleepwalking. In fact, I wish I could have MORE sleep.”
Yet, how many of us have lost hours surfing online or aimlessly scrolling through social media?
How many of us feel like our homes are buried in clutter and we aren’t sure how to organize or dig our way out (but we still find more stuff to buy)?
How many of us come home after a long day and zone out in front of the TV, then feel guilty because we just wasted our evening?
How many of us spend more time at the office because we feel in control at our jobs, and when we come home, we feel inadequate or unfulfilled in our personal lives?
These “soft addictions” are causing us to miss out on the things we really want. Instead of blissing out, we’re missing out. We’re zoning out and losing the thrill of connecting and engaging with those around us.
We often use soft addictions as pseudo-comfort sources. We think we’re relaxing and rejuvenating ourselves, when really we’re simply prolonging the pattern. There’s no reward to these soft addictions, and in fact, they make us feel guilty, non-productive and unfulfilled.
Soft addictions are habits that can seem harmless. These aren’t hard addictions like drugs, gambling or alcohol. These soft addictions are deceptively comforting on the surface. They seem simple and like they’re no big deal: over-shopping, too much snacking, binging on Netflix, scrolling through social media, and falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet.
Soft addictions are not a sin. They are simply a misguided attempt to take care of ourselves—a way to try to relax after a draining day, to distract or amuse ourselves, or to cope with strong feelings. The problem is that soft addictions don’t add to our life; they actually drain us of the precious resources that could be used toward fueling our dreams. They don’t take care of us, refresh us, or give us the comfort that we really deserve. They take from us without giving us much back. We all need breaks from our stressed-out lives. We need entertainment, refreshment, recreation, and more. But we deserve great breaks—not just sneaking in a zoned-out chipsfest while gazing at the computer screen or mindlessly flipping channels as we flop in front of the TV. We need satisfying and exciting ways to nurture, restore, and entertain ourselves, which give us MORE, not less.
Breaking free of your soft addictions doesn’t mean that you avoid TV for the rest of your life, or that you forsake grande mocha forever, or that you’re forbidden to shop or surf the Internet. What it does mean is that you design a fulfilling, satisfying life that feeds your body, mind and your spirit. It means learning skills to help you overcome your dependence on these life-robbing habits but that also then become the building blocks of a truly great life—a life of MORE.
To overcome our soft addictions we have to resolve to live a life of MORE. We want a life with more spiritual and personal fulfillment. We want a life where we’re engaging with those around us. We want a life of deep social connections; a life of growth and of ever-moving-forward on our journey to the next mountain and the next goal.
To live a life of MORE, you don’t have to think of “giving up” things you enjoy, but rather, think of ways you can incorporate more self-care and self-expression. Think of ways you can become more creative and more YOU.
When we think of self-care, we often feel guilty or indulgent about taking time to do the things that make us feel good. In truth, taking time for self-care helps us thrive and is much higher priority and more fulfilling a goal than avoiding it and using soft addictions to be self-destructive. When we take the time for self-care, we add things to our schedule like exercise, nourishing healthy foods, meditation, massage, and outdoor activities.
Self-care helps us reach our vision and work toward our goals. It gives us energy and nourishment to make it through our journey. It helps us to identify and fulfill our yearnings and care for the longings of our heart.
We have to find ways to develop our talents, gifts, and skills. What makes us feel special? What helps us contribute to the world around us? If you’re a great writer, write. If you love to paint, paint. If you love to sing or dance, sing and dance! These activities help sooth us. They help us express ourselves and live our lives more fully. They are more important than the soft addictions we might be using to avoid them, or to eat up the time we could be spending on developing these talents.
Become more compassionate, more creative, and more full of humor and positivity. This lightness and joy brings more purpose in our lives and a great fulfillment and outlet.
Focus on intimacy and building on social connections. Our connections with those around us form the basis of our satisfaction and success. That doesn’t mean we seek out our personal fulfillment through others, but it means connecting with those around us, listening, and forging stronger bonds.
Intimacy requires vulnerability and an ability to express our emotions to each other and be open. No, you don’t need to constantly focus on your emotions and add drama to every situation, but get in touch with the yearnings and longings of your heart.
As you work to bring more joy, more zest, and MORE LIFE into your world, you might find there’s less room for soft addictions and less need to zone out, procrastinate and avoid. You’ll be more engaged and more fulfilled.
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.