Are you addicted?

These days it is possible to become addicted to anything. You might be thinking about common addictions such as alcohol, drugs and gambling but you can also develop an unhealthy habit around sugar, shopping, social media, computer games, pornography – the list goes on and on.

Addiction is defined as ‘the compulsive repetition of a habit/behaviour, regardless of negative consequences’.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine says, ‘Addiction is what happens in a person’s brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviour’.

I am not sure that I am addicted to the Internet and Facebook but I know how upset I become when my broadband connection fails or is weak. When it happened recently I got stressed and then angry. I also know that sometimes I start looking at social media sites for ‘5 minutes’ and then time passes and I feel guilty that I have got nothing done. Guilt, stress and anger are all symptoms of addiction.

Some of the developers of the apps and programs we us in everyday life are now concerned about how addictive they have become. These men (mainly) who are now in their 30s and early 40s are having children and are starting to worry about the impact of tech on the next generation.

There were some useful tips in The Guardian Magazine about how to stop tech from stealing your time:

  • Turn off notifications which are not from a real person, such as Twitter updates or news bulletins
  • The only easily accessible apps you should have are those with a clear endpoint such as National Rail, TfL, Maps or Notes
  • Do not have your phone or tablet in your bedroom. Use an external alarm clock
  • Create custom notifications for special people, so you don’t feel tempted to check your phone whenever it vibrates or chimes
  • Scramble your apps regularly by rearranging your screen, so you don’t click on time-sapping apps out of habit

You can

So, what might you be addicted to? What is stealing your money, health, time or attention? What one change could you make today that is going to make a difference?

If you need help to make a change contact me today.

Blue Monday

Researchers at Cardiff University have determined that Monday 21st January 2013 is Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year!

Group of women hugging

Have a hug!

They calculated this by looking at six factors:

  • Weather conditions (cold and grey) 
  • Debt levels (and our ability to repay that debt) 
  • Time elapsed since the Christmas holidays 
  • Time elapsed since abandoning New Year Resolutions 
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Lack of having anything to look forward to in the near future 

I have really noticed since the Christmas holidays were over how subdued people have been in the supermarket and around the town.

But stop worrying now because this year 21 January is also National Hug Day!

I know what you’re thinking, ‘There’s colds and bugs around, why do I want to hug someone?’  Well firstly, having a positive attitude is very good for your immune system.  Secondly, making social connections is essential for boosting your mental health.

And finally giving and receiving hugs causes our body to release the ‘feel good’ hormone oxytocin.  Oxytocin has been credited with numerous body-and-mind benefits, including: giving us healthier hearts; improving our relationships with other people; slowing down the ageing process, and (critically) making us feel happier.

If you’re not ready for that hug yet, you can achieve similar results from giving and receiving smiles and you can do that from a safe distance!

Have a Happy Monday!