When we hear the word “addiction” we typically think of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc. There are tons of other addictions and most people are unconscious about them or not very visible outside. Let me give you some examples of these not so commonly accepted addictions.
- Social Media /Web surfing addiction – Find out exactly how much time you are spending on social media per day/week. And you will realize how much time you end up spending. People who build social media companies knows how to make people addicts and they know the science behind it very well. The more you become addict the more profits companies can make. You know why we keep checking on Facebook who liked your post or what comments people are making about latest selfie?
- Addiction for praise – I am sure you know people who will do any thing for you if you flatter them. Why? Because they are addicted to your praise. We tend to say these are “nice people” and helping nature etc. If the intent is purely based on help then it is fine. But if you are craving for the praise then it is an addiction. This is one of the reason why companies have “reward” systems in place. If you more focused on the reward than the actual work then it can become an addiction.
- Food Addiction –This is very interesting. And most people know about this addiction. Especially we have interesting names for this addiction -” Sweet tooth”. I don’t know who has invented this word. I am sure the guy who has sugar addiction would have invented this word. Some people say “I am foodie..”. What? If you look at his/her plate most probably he will be consuming huge amount carbs and sugars. Actual food addiction is largest problem in most countries which leads to health and psychological issues. Based on this addiction whole food industry is growing. Compare to the number of people who smoke we would have more number of people who have food addiction problems
- High Achievement Addiction – We give great respect for people who are very hard working and achieve big outcomes. They would have started with small tasks/projects then take up bigger and bigger projects and eventually run a large organization/vision/build a big enterprise, etc. Why take up bigger and bigger challenges/goals? . Because they addicted to the “kick”.
- Running Addiction – Why people start with 5K and go up Ultra marathons and Iron Man races. We look at them think they are crazy and we don’t understand why they take such a pain to run marathons. They keep raising the bar because they are addicted for “Runners High” – nothing but addiction to feel good chemicals in brain called Endorphin.
While addiction example # 4 and # 5 are supposed to “good addictions”, any extreme level can cause imbalance in life. The point here is not about good or bad addiction. Addiction is an addiction and we must be aware about it and based on personal interest you can keep pushing forward the good addictions. But the main problem is with the examples like # 1,2 & 3.
Why some people are more addicts than others? Here is the main reason for this. People who have lesser Dopamine in their brains tend to have more addiction problems. What is Dopamine? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for reward and pleasure system. So what you do if you have lesser Dopamine and have addiction issue? Simple move away from bad addictions to good addictions. This is the reason if you want to lose weight then you need to exercise more (not because of the calorie burning alone) but because you are changing the one pathway (negative) to another (positive) path to fulfill the same Dopamine.
Bottom line is list down all your addictions and segregate them into negative and positive. And simply make more of positive addictions and automatically we will have less room for the negative addictions.