People can fall victim to many types of addictions, with the most prevalent being drugs and alcohol, food, gambling, social media and television, and sex. Addicts of any behavior, activity, or substance just want to experience something that makes them feel pleasure in order to escape reality.
After feeling that “high” the first time, the person becomes hooked due to the release of dopamine into the part of the brain that registers pleasure, which also plays a role in learning and memory. So, compulsive behavior starts when the brain responds to a gratifying substance or activity by releasing large amounts of dopamine, and the reward circuit in the brain stores these memories of satisfaction, making you crave more.
While it may seem like addiction happens whether you want it to or not, you can actually overcome compulsive behavior using these simple, yet powerful methods.
Here are 5 Healthy Ways to Overcome Addiction
Seek Alternative Sources of Pleasure
You can still experience bliss in life without having to consume hallucinogens or alcohol, betting all your money at the casino, or watching mind-numbing programs on TV. Everyone wants to feel good, but unfortunately, mass media and societal norms encourage unhealthy ways of attaining pleasure. Because of social engineering, many people have become convinced that mind-altering substances, lustful relationships, material items, food, and technological gadgets will pave the way to a higher state of existence.
However, the brain receptors eventually build tolerance to these stimuli as they become overwhelmed, and they release less and less dopamine over time. Therefore, you have to ingest more of the substance, spend even more money, or seek out more unfulfilling, shallow relationships to release the same amount of dopamine. The brain then becomes conditioned to receive these rewards over and over again, and the cravings get harder to handle.
In order to truly overcome an addiction, you need to reflect deeply on your life and figure out why you choose harmful substances and behaviors to fill the emptiness. Start replacing the destructive practices with more wholesome activities or foods, like exercising and consuming more fruits and vegetables. Fill your life with a wide variety of fun, engaging activities that will make you feel satisfied and happy so that you don’t resort to quick fixes to achieve the same goal.
Most people seek outlets because they feel stuck and unhappy with their current situation, so getting active and moving your mind and body will help you feel invigorated and in control of your life. To master addiction, you need to remember that nothing outside yourself can ever match the same satisfaction you can get by fully utilizing the tools you already have within.
Harness Your Creativity
One of the main benefits of drawing, playing music, writing, dancing, and other art forms is the fact that you can do any of them without suffering from adverse side effects that drugs, alcohol, and processed foods come with. In life, we all seek spiritual enlightenment either intentionally or unknowingly, and addicts of any kind really just want to experience this higher state of being.
By getting reconnected with your creative side, you will enter a zone where everything else around you seems to dissipate as you transcend your current reality and make your way into one where life seems easier and more enjoyable. Must musicians and artists will tell you that they couldn’t imagine life without their art form because it feels like an escape to them.
Find something healthy in the realm of art that you really take an interest in, and use that as your source of pleasure when you feel a craving coming on for anything that will cause you more harm than good.
Meditation can help you overcome the duality you face each day in your quest to kick bad habits to the curb and adopt better ones. This ancient practice will allow you to silently observe your behavior, and show you that bad and good don’t really exist – it’s all just energy expressed in different forms. You might struggle with addiction now, but you can start living more effortlessly by turning your mind off for a while and simply being. Don’t worry with fighting off demons and forcing yourself to change overnight; have patience with yourself and the universe to guide you. Meditation will also invite you into a world where you don’t have to seek out anything to make you happy, because happiness is just a state of being.
Meditation is essentially a way of traveling to other worlds and helping you achieve enlightenment in the most natural way possible – without drugs or other earthly addictions. It helps you build strength and recognize the boundless potential you have as a spiritual being having a temporary human experience.
Distance Yourself from People Who Encourage Addictions
If you want to eliminate drugs and alcohol from your life, it won’t help to hang out at bars with former drinking buddies or surround yourself with drug abusers. You need to find people who value healthy lifestyles and more positive habits, like exercising, playing music, eating nourishing foods, and following their passions in life. Your current friends may not understand why you can’t include them in your life anymore, but you have to do whatever will help you break free of harmful habits. Ultimately, you get to choose your own friends, so make sure you surround yourself with uplifting people who have your best interest at heart.
Believe in Yourself
It might seem obvious, but many people forget to actually have faith in their ability to overcome obstacles. They admit defeat before they even try, believing that they have no way out of their current mindset or situation. In order to beat addictions, you have to first trust in yourself that you can indeed win the battle. You have to make a pact with yourself that you will never give up on you. After all, you are your own master, so you get to decide what kind of person you want to become. You CAN live a healthier life and leave self-harming addictions in the past; you just have to believe that you can get there, one step at a time.
(Bonus): Practice self-control
One of the most important ingredients in overcoming addiction of any kind is to simply know when enough is enough. Knowing where to set healthy boundaries for yourself will keep your own conscious mind at the steering wheel, and provide you with a more balanced life overall. When you draw a line in the proverbial sand, you begin to draw a picture of what you truly want in your life. You deserve to be in control. You ARE enough.