How To Grow: Creating Positive Addictions

Do you ever experience moments where you begin to realize that the habits and activities you partake in are no longer serving you? They no longer fulfill you or bring you the happiness and joy you thought it would bring? Often these moments lead to depression, self-doubt, self-guilt, among other negative emotions you may feel. Nevertheless, you find yourself scrolling through Google or Pinterest, looking for ways to better yourself, to improve your self-worth. You find yourself typing in keywords like,

“How to release negative energy,” or “How to better myself”.

Whatever may have you feeling lost, out of touch, or disconnected, it is important to know that any negative addiction, energy, relationship, etc. that you may be experiencing, can be turned into a positive addiction. Yes, that’s right, a positive addiction. When you think of the term “positive addiction”, it tends to be a bit of a contradiction. The reason being is that addiction, in modern society, is deemed negative and also known as a disease to many.

However, positive addictions, a term advanced by William Glasser in a book with the same name, “strengthen us and make our lives more satisfying.” Positive addictions can come in the form of running, meditating, cooking, playing/performing music, dancing, or even knitting. Glasser also states that positive addictions enable us to “live with more confidence, more creativity, and more happiness, and usually in much better health.” Positive addictions, unlike their negative cousins, enhance life. When you begin to feel that your life has been enhanced, restored, or renewed, this is when you know that you’re embarking on a personal development journey that will lead to you having a happier, healthier lifestyle!

William Glasser provides these six criteria that must be fulfilled for a person to have a positive

addiction to an activity:

  1. It is something noncompetitive that you choose to do and you can devote approximately an hour per day;

  2. It is possible for you to do it easily and it doesn’t take a good deal of mental effort to do it well

  3. You can do it alone or rarely with others but it does not depend upon others to do it

  4. You believe that it has some value (physical, mental, or spiritual) for you

  5. You believe that if you persist at it you will improve, but this is completely subjective, you need to be the only one who measures the improvement; and

  6. The activity must have the quality that you can do it without criticizing yourself. If you can’t accept yourself during this time, the activity will not be addicting

I believe that positive addictions can develop a healthy, positive attitude, something that is imperative to growing a positive addiction. The judgement whether one is improving is delicate; one must not adopt a critical attitude toward themselves. The pleasure is diminished if one just hammers themselves for not getting better at an activity, even one they love in many ways. A negative attitude precludes a positive addiction.

Glasser’s criteria provide a good way to distinguish healthy and pleasant activities from ones that are not. It provides people a way to assess the activities that contribute to a healthy and happy life and those that do not.

Some positive addictions that you could try include:

❏ Meditation

❏ Exercise (Any form)

❏ Reading

❏ Cooking

❏ Baking

❏ Listening to Music

❏ Dancing

These are just a few “positive addictions” that could be healthy to incorporate into your life!

Whatever you find joy in, whatever activity makes you happy, don’t be afraid to take advantage of it and do it!

Embrace the happiness that life has to offer.