Doesn't it feel good to clean out the closet & let go of all of that stuff you never wear?  Some of it was barely worn.  Most of it's a reminder that you should really take more time considering your purchases. foot-in-mouth

Buying-in to life's little messes

Life is much like that, we go out there & buy, buy, buy.  Some of us feel the pain before we even get to the register.  We worry and fester over every little choice we make.  But somehow we keep digging ourselves into our little messes.  It's like we see what causes us to go through all this, but we just can't stop falling for it over & over again.  So, why do we do it? 

Knowing a small problem from a hole in our head (which is kinda' a big deal btw)

First, we need to recognize two problems.

  • Overreacting about the little stuff that won't really hurt us
  • Failing to discontinue the things that hurt us

We must first differentiate between what's really good and what's not.  Then we can enjoy the little things in life without the guilt, while generally eradicating the big mistakes that really get us down.

How to do this? 

Think about your vices.  e.g. food, spending, opposite sex, overworking, etc.   Break them down into tiny little pieces. 

So, for instance, with food.  If you're eating a lot in between meals, you'll want to think about what takes you into the kitchen.  Do this while you're getting up to go to the kitchen, walking to the kitchen and opening that fateful fridge door. 

What are you thinking?  Feeling?  Really wanting?  What were you doing?  What were you missing?  Are you even hungry?  Does any part of your body hurt?  Are you sad?  Are you worried?  You get the point.

Emotional eating

In other words, the problem is that you are unconsciously doing something as a response to something that you're experiencing.  With food it can be a void you're feeling, something you're missing.   The problem is that we're not really getting what we're missing through food, so we keep eating and eating which makes us feel worse.  It stimulates our pleasure hormones, which makes us want more, but we still have that void in our life.

The food and endorphins don't solve the real problem.  So, in this case the first thing you should do is try to identify what you're missing that makes you go to the fridge. 

Food and heroin commonality...what??!

For some, the "food" is alcohol.  Others it may be work.  It's not always something that's bad in reasonable quantities.  For instance food is necessary, but in excess, not so much.  Sometimes vices like food addiction, workahol or obsessive/compulsive disorders are harder to control because they can't be completely avoided.  Eating, working or cleaning seems harmless and in some ways like positive activities.  It's not like you can abstain from work, eating or caring for your home and family.  The problem is when it's in excess.  Which for some of us is a very grey area.

It's hard to believe that food and heroin actually trigger the same brain chemicals that cause some of us to form a food addiction.  Heroin is black and white.  It's bad, you must quit. 

Food and addictions like it are far more challenging to quit over-indulging.  If you have such vices, the first thing you will need to do is identify them, then identify what triggers your compulsion.

Once you know your vices and what drives you to overindulge, you should find ways to combat them with healthy alternatives that answer to what you lack, need or crave. This may mean you will need the help of a professional counselor or therapist to guide you.

In most cases, you'll be able to add those little things back into your life that make life so good!   Since many unhealthy habits have less to do with whatever it is that you are drawn too, once you deal with the underlying issue, you'll be able to indulge in things responsibly that formerly you consumed, did or used too much.    Most of us don't want to live in a regimented life that provides us no "little bits of bad".  Yes, that's correct.  You need a little bad to make life so good.

The 80/20 rule 

It can be applied to most everything unless you have an extenuating circumstance, health condition or dangerous addiction, like drugs or alcohol that require 100% abstinence. 

Most of us have some vice or another.  Many vices can become serious problems if that tiny voice in our head doesn't say, "Hey, hold on now, that's too much." or "What are you thinking?  Another pair of jeans?".    In the case of a serious addiction, the vice suppresses the voice.   Professional guidance is recommended.  

Most vices (in excess) can damage our life, body or happiness; but, they aren't serious addictions.  The vice may be stronger than the voice, but it doesn't have complete control, you do.   

In the case of addictive substances or behaviors (which can include food, drugs, alcohol or brain chemical stimulating activities) some vices turn addictive much faster than others based on a biological reaction.  In this case, be warned. 

Finally, if friends and loved ones have concerns you may have an addiction rather than what you think is just a harmless habit, listen and get help.

When a vice is just a vice

When you want something, but don't need it, can control the usage and aren't addicted, let it be said that as adults, we are very capable of determining the difference between moderate usage from overindulging.  We may not want to admit it to ourselves, but, we absolutely know the difference between gaining 20 lbs. from an occasional donut in the breakroom.  So, indulge but be realistic.  

A little bad goes a long way

Our mind and body perform better when we take a break from our regular diet and have a glass of wine instead of a wheat germ smoothie.  Also, we're more likely to stick with the 80% good when we add in a little 20% bad.

While work and diet are examples, as mentioned above, apply the rule to most everything to keep your life balanced.  Let that little devil have his way once in a while and remember it's the little bad things that make life so grand, but its the angel and smart choices that make life much easier. ∞


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