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Day 8: Seeing our addictions

“We must give up many things to which we are addicted, considering them to be good. Otherwise,
courage will vanish, which should continually test itself. Greatness of soul will be lost, which
can’t stand out unless it disdains as petty what the mob regards as most desirable.”

SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 74.12b–13

While reading this post, I was wondering do I have any addictions? I do get up at 5-5:30 in the morning. I follow my morning routine, read a book, take bath, start my work at 8, eat homemade food most of the days, finish my day at 6, have some family time, don’t waste my time watching TV, read again and sleep by 9:30. This is my usual day and it remains mostly the same on all days. But when I look minutely I still find a few of the minor addictions, like drinking coffee in the morning, checking out my phone for every notification, keep checking work email even after work hours, keep stalking people on social media. But are these addictions harmful, that I need to work on it? Usually, when are seeing that you are doing good in so many others areas of life, you tend to ignore these small addictions and treat them pretty harmless. But are they harmless?

But first, let’s see why we form addictions

As per the study to understand addictions by Harvard, the brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex. All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.

So, how do you figure out if you have addictions?

You can find out if you have addiction or not if these 2 points are applicable to you:

  • Repeated use of substance & certain behavior
  • Withdrawal symptoms

How to free up yourself from addictions

Some of the steps that you are use following the advice from Atomic Habits by James Clear

  1. Make It Invisible: Remove the cues of your addiction from your environment. If you are addicted to checking all notification; lock the phone in your drawer, if you are addicted to drinking, don’t keep the alcohol stacked at your home
  2. Make It Unattractive: Highlight the benefits of avoiding this addiction
  3. Make It Difficult: Increase the number of steps between you and your addiction. If you are addicted to coffee; don’t buy it, if you are addicted to scrolling on social media; delete the app the apps from your phone
  4. Make It Unsatisfying: Ask someone to watch your behavior.
Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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