Do you struggle with compulsive behavior - for instance, excessive sweet eating or obsessing over your Facebook timeline and emails? Do you find yourself doing anything to distract you from whatever seemingly un-enjoyable task you have at hand and engaging in repetitive, mindless activities just to keep any anxiety at bay?
These are all signs of compulsion and they keep us locked into a loop of stress and fear.
But what is really behind it? Why do we have addictions like that? What is really going on?
There is always something behind compulsive behavior. There is always a reason why someone would rather placate themselves with repetitious and numbing activity rather than the task at hand. And it is not always because they are lazy, unmotivated, and simple – which is often what is implied. Sometimes it is because we are hiding from something. There is something we don't want to see about ourselves, our task, our issues – something.
And so instead, we go into compulsion for just one more moment of peace before we have to face the ugly monster. We find one more way to shut our ears, close our eyes, push out the fear, anxiety, depression, doubt, etc until we can get on with what’s in front of us.
But compulsion never works. And what settles in behind the scenes is dread. And who likes that?
I have found for myself that checking in with myself and FACING that anxiety, fear, depression, doubt – that shadow - is what can break the compulsion.
Sitting with it within myself is one way. I do this by taking a moment to sit in a quiet 5-minute meditation instead of succumbing to the urge to fall into a distracting behavior.
Taking 10 deep breathes is another quick and simple way I conquer this.
The point is that separating myself from the emotional trigger of the compulsion is what helps me move past it. And this simple, tiny thing is one that contributes to every moment that my life gets better.
Perhaps this tiny, little thing can help your moments get better too :-).