Sunday, 18 February 2018

Habits and Addictions - For Better or for Worse

Our habits can serve us well or cause us harm.

Like it or not, we are all a creature of habit. Do you put your left shoe on first? You may have no idea but there is a high probability you have a habit that ensures it is always the same foot that receives the shoe first.

We can therefore update adding the concept of ‘neutrality to those of serving us well or causing harm. I would argue that a habit of putting one show on before the other is neither good nor harmful.

Often, we explain habits by referencing routine. Are they one and the same?

We have good habits that may aid our health, education and relationships just as we may have poor habits that do the opposite.

We will probably be aware of our destructive or harmful habits and express a desire to reform them, even if only inwardly . Something most of us are highly skilled in is finding a reason or excuse for staying the same.

I will give up alcohol after my birthday, stop eating chocolate after Easter or commence an exercise program on the first day of Spring.

We deliberately delay the start of forming  of a new habit to a date in the future, secretly knowing this will also be the day we devise another “future” start day.

How different is a habit from an addiction?

We think of addiction in terms of substances like drugs, coffee, alcohol and nicotine.

Is repeatedly staying up late watching trash television an addiction of a habit?

Perhaps it depends on how we feel when our habit is disrupted or our addiction cannot be fulfilled.
A power outage may mean we miss our favourite TV program. Do we feel agitated as a result of our habit being disrupted and perhaps the extent of our agitation is a measure of addiction? Then again, am I addicted to the program or to making a meaningful contribution to the discussion about the show over morning coffee the next day?

I am writing this on a Sunday and it will be posted today too. So what?

About 4 weeks ago I announced I would be posting an article here every week day meaning I have Saturday and Sunday off.

As each day starts, I find I am constantly seeing or mentally formatting potential ideas for that (week) day(s) post. It is a day long piece of work that only ends when the article is published, when the search for the next day’s article begins. It is all absorbing.

I have realised these last two weekends that I am so in the habit of doing this, that come Sunday, I start to become a little agitated about not having written anything.

I am yet to decide if this habit serves me well, causes me harm or is neutral.

I am just relieved it is Monday tomorrow and I will be able to write and publish an article.

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