DEALING WITH ADDICTION

WANTING VERSUS LIKING
– wanting (craving) and liking (satisfaction) are separate aspects of pleasure
– in addictions, satisfaction decreases and craving takes on a life of its own

WANTING
– wanting (craving) is a powerful motivational circuit
– the core feeling is hopeful anticipation and excited searching
– craving is activated by brain dopamine and stimulant drugs

LIKING
– liking (satisfaction) is fickle and tends to habituate
– the core feeling is physical comfort and social belonging
– satisfacdtion is activated by brain endorphins and opiate drugs

ADDICTIONS AND COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOURS
– tolerance develops with all drugs and leads to decreased satisfaction
– the craving system becomes over-sensitized and easily triggered
– cycles of withdrawal and shame create a vicious cycle
– excessive craving leads to a loss of other interests

DEALING WITH CRAVINGS
– change your environment (people, places, things) to reduce exposure
– identify emotional triggers such as boredom and loneliness
– be aware of your efforts to rationalize or bargain with yourself
– re-learn simple satisfactions rather than pursuing shiny new objects
– learn relapse prevention techniques here

SEE ALSO
The Science of Craving

BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE

LOW SELF-CONFIDENCE IS PERPETUATED BY
– staying within a narrow comfort zone
– sacrificing your interests in the hope of gaining approval and security

OVERCOMING SOCIAL ANXIETY
– challenge your negative thoughts
– take action to overcome avoidance
– practice self-compassion

OVERCOMING INDECISIVENESS
– work backwards from what you know you don’t want
– brainstorm all possible options and make a list of pros and cons
– choose the best possible option (even if there is no obvious right decision)
– leave room for course corrections and have a back-up plan

OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION
– start even if you are not in the right mood or do not have all the materials
– build momentum by starting on the edges or with the easier parts
– focus on one step at a time rather than thinking about the end result
– learn to procrastinate productively by using breaks to perform other tasks

CHANGING HABITS
– try to understand the cues and rewards that drive the habit
– use trial and error to find a new routine that can give similar rewards
– start simple and change only one habit at a time
– practice the new routine consistently for the first 30 days

CHANGING JOBS
– try to be clear with yourself about why you want to leave your current job
– look at whether the problems with your current job are fixable
– list what you want from a new job in concrete terms
– spend time doing research and consider all options
– assess your financial options and supports
– consider vocational assessment or further education
– test your readiness by doing preliminary job interviews
– consider a trial run before committing yourself to a new position
– beware of recruiters who pressure you to close the deal
– organize a plan with a time-line and work backwards by setting deadlines for each step
– leave your old job on good terms
– see here for information on dealing with problems in the workplace

SEE ALSO
– Confidence
– The Impostor Syndrome
– Status Anxiety
– Procrastination
– The Perfectionist Trap
– Misemployment
– How to Find Fulfilling Work
– What is ‘Success’?