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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Habits Have You Hooked? - Choose Freedom

I have an addictive personality.  Like many people, my brain is wired for pleasure.  It keeps the species going and our brains are set up to seek out those rewards.  I happened by accident on some interviews with Dr. Nora Volkow.  A specialist in how the brain is functioning with addiction.

I find it a bit disturbing that as addicts smoke their substances, or drink them, etc., the amount of dopamine receptors actually decreases.  That's why the person needs more and more, first to get the high they are looking for, and then just to maintain what used to be normal.

Not only are food companies aware of how to hook you with the right combinations of sugar, fat, salt and chemical additives, they are guaranteeing their profits by your inability to stop eating their products or at the very least, keep buying them.  Even looking at an image of your preferred substance,  (food, dope, sex, shopping, etc...) can trigger your brain and give you the impulse to seek out what brings you pleasure.

I'm sure I've gotten hooked to a few men in my life from this process.  It is difficult to extricate ones self from a strong trigger.  Especially one that brings you such good feelings, or at least did at one time.  Stop the madness of addictions by replacing the old negative addiction to coffee, cigarettes, doughnuts, etc. with something else and also pleasurable.

First get clear why you want to stop.  Maybe your habit is interferring with your ability to get close to someone, or keeps your weight where you are unhappy or maybe you secretly feel badly about yourself for the loss of self control?  Your reasons need to be clear or you are more likely to toss in the towel and carry on with what feels pretty normal to you by now.

Second, seek out other pleasurable things that are healthier.  You can learn to love the dopamine rush of exercise, healthier foods, closer relationships and even doing higher quality work.  In fact an addictive personality is a gift in many ways.  You can train yourself to be addicted to all sorts of good things and create a life that is far beyond your dreams.  It takes willingness though.  And is far more fun with some support.  Find a group, a coach, a sweetheart, who will be there when you need a helping hand to stay on track.  Then get hooked on healthier habits and see if you can bring back your faded receptors to experience life with far more natural highs...

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