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12 Ways To Stop Your Addiction to ‘The Next Thing’

12 Ways To Stop Your Addiction to ‘The Next Thing’

Addiction is one of the most common issues of the average person these days, but few realize they are struggling with it, admit having a problem with something, and rarely anyone takes action to get back on track and take control of their life.

In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right , aquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else.

That doesn’t need to be you. You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today. And yes, there will always be this next thing if you don’t take a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.

So, let’s see what the steps are to overcoming your biggest weakness and to finally live freely and happily:

1. Define where you are in your life right now

Sit down today or tomorrow and start thinking about your current lifestyle and the person you are at this stage.

That may sound like an easy exercise, but truly admitting what you aren’t satisfied with in yourself and around you might be difficult.

Honestly and mindfulness are stepping stones to understanding addiction, and eventually not just overcoming it, but making sure you’ll never get addicted to anything else again.

2. Decide that you want to change, and clearly state why

Clear reasons why you want to do something about your addictive nature will help you out a lot in the future.

The decision you take should happen without letting any outer factor affect it. It’s just you and your mind and soul and you want to free these.

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The ‘whys’ behind your desire to deal with the addiction may be many and different—from finally reaching a goal you’ve always had, to improving your relationship with a loved one or becoming a better version of yourself so that you can meet nice people and form deeper connections.

3. Set realistic goals

Now’s the time to go back to the past for a while and think about previous attempts to deal with getting addicted to something, be it a bad habit, overeating, another person, material objects, or even something so harmful that your life was in danger.

What ways did you try? What in your environment helped you make a change, and which factors only made it worse to do something about it?

Write down all these. Then, set goals that are more realistic this time.

You’ll want to start small and give this transformation time. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up too soon.

4. Be present

It’s important to practice mindfulness during the whole process of stopping the addiction to ‘the next thing.’

That’s because once you start doing things unconsciously, you might end up going back to old habits, and triggering bad behaviours or mental patterns you thought you had overcome.

To fight addiction, you should be mindful of what’s going on around you, but also in your head, at any moment of the day. This way you’ll firmly say ‘no’ to negative thoughts and influences, and choose peace and change instead.

5. Optimize your environment

Your environment can make or break the success of your mission.

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Spending time with people who indulge in unhealthy behaviors, for instance, will surely make you weak in the face of temptations and give in easily.

You don’t want that. Instead, either directly tell these people you’re trying to overcome addiction and can’t spend as much time with them anymore, or simply ignore them for a while.

To have the opposite effect, find the ones that are mentally strong, who inspire you, who’ve already fought addiction and now live a happy, fulfilling life.

Just seeing their successful recovery will let you keep hope alive.

What’s more, you’re more likely to take action and stay strong and consistent when you’re around them.

Plus, feedback always comes in handy. Ask them for advice, listen to their words of encouragement, and make sure you don’t repeat their mistakes.

6. Be accountable

Here’s the time to include another person in your journey that will make sure you’re always doing the right thing and not showing any signs of addiction.

It might be a parent, partner, friend, mentor, or even someone you hire for that kind of a job.

Either have daily calls in the beginning, or just keep in touch all the time and share your results, ask for support when you feel weak, etc.

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7. Understand addiction

Do your research and even keep reading about addiction, what causes it, how others have overcome it (meaning success stories on the web of people who are now over that), and how the mind works when it’s addicted to something (and other basic psychology principles).

Understanding something is half the battle.

8. Keep yourself busy

If you have too much time on your hands, and get bored often, your mind will eventually start indulging in old habits again. So engage it in something different and interesting.

Start a new hobby. Learn a new skill. Take up a sport. Begin researching and brainstorming an online business idea.

There are many things you can be doing with your time when you’re not working or doing anything else. Be productive. This will increase your self-esteem too and you’ll feel good about yourself.

9. Prepare for failure

Another useful thing to do in advance is to plan the potential times of the day, or situations in daily life, which might make you do what you’re not supposed to be doing.

Write these down and watch out for them.

10. Enjoy life without addiction

Stop every day for a while to appreciate the clear mind you have now, the change you’re going through that makes you stronger each new day, and the opportunities that lie in store if you keep staying on the right path.

That will encourage you to keep going and will make you happier.

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11. Write it out

Have a journal. Write down anything related to the addiction there, be it one from the past you want to completely overcome, or a potential one you want to stop.

For instance, have the habit of putting pen to paper each morning and saying why today you’ll stay strong. Then, track things throughout the day. And in the evening, review your day, how you did, and what you can do better the next one.

When going back to old journal entries you’ll be able to actually see and feel your progress as every step of the way will be there.

12. Challenge yourself often

Why not make the whole ‘no more addiction’ thing a game? Set milestones, small and realistic ones, give each a deadline, and go accomplish it.

Then, feel good about your achievements, motivated to get even further, and also reward yourself each time you get to the next level.

Even if you haven’t been addicted to anything before, you’re as much likely to experience that in the future as anyone else.

Following the tips above will prevent you from ever losing control over your life, and is a sure way to only move forward and improve yourself and your lifestyle.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

You may have heard someone say they are “totally right brained” or that they’re “a left brained person.”

There is a pervasive myth that’s been making its rounds for over a century: people have two hemispheres of their brains, and if they have a dominant left brain, they’re more analytical; and if they have a dominant right brain, they are more creative.

Before we go debunking this theory and then giving some tips for how people can access their creative brain centers, let’s first take a look at where the left brain/right brain lateralization theory comes from.

The Left Brain/Right Brain Lateralization Theory

In the 1800s, scientists discovered that when patients injured one side of their brains, certain skills were lost.[1] Scientists linked those different skills to one side of the brain or the other. Thus began the left brain/right brain myth that continues to this day.

Then, in the 1960s and 70s, Roger W. Sperry led 16 operations that cut the corpus callosum (the largest region that connects both brain hemispheres together) in order to try to treat patients’ epilepsy. Sperry wrote about the differences in the two hemispheres as a result of those surgeries.[2]

Sperry’s work was popularized in 1973 with a New York Times article about his lateralization theory—that people were either right brained (read: logical) or left brained (read: creative). From here, Sperry won the Nobel Prize for his work and numerous other publications spread the right brain/left brain myth.

Debunking the Right Brain/Left Brain Myth

If anything, the lateralization theory of the brain is a gross exaggeration. It is true that people have two hemispheres of their brains. It is also true that there are differences in the composition of those two hemispheres.

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However, the hemispheres are actually much more interconnected than Sperry’s work initially made it seem.

In a 2013 study,[3] scientists scanned over 1000 people’s brains, checking for lateralization. They confirmed that certain brain functions occur predominately in one hemisphere or the other but that, in reality, the brain is actually much more interconnected and complex than the right brain/left brain lateralization theory makes it seem.[4][5]

A New Metaphor for Right Brain/Left Brain

How do we get past this right brain/left brain myth?

First, let’s look at what contemporary cognitive science says about brain regions, and creative and logical modes of thinking.

My background is as an improviser and improv researcher. I wrote Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and think looking at improvisation and the brain can shed light on a new model for talking about unlocking the brain’s creative potential.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans have shown that while trained improvisers improvise (musically on a keyboard, rapping, and comedic improvisation) an interesting shift happens in their brain activity. [6]

A region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases in activity and creative language centers such as the medial prefrontal cortex increase in activity. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is linked with conscious thoughts—that inner voice that tells you not to say something or criticizes you when you do.

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The medial prefrontal cortex is among the brain regions linked with creativity. So, instead of thinking about right brain and left brain, perhaps it’s more current and correct to think about more specific brain regions instead of hemispheres. Perhaps, it’s more useful to think about which activities and strategies will allow us to inhibit our dorsolateral prefrontal cortexes and allow our medial prefrontal cortexes to flourish.

How to Enhance Your “Right Brain” — Creativity

Whether we’re talking about right brain versus left brain, creative versus logical, or medial prefrontal cortex versus dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, we still know enough to talk about strategies to tap into your creative brain’s full potential.

So, now that we’ve dispelled the right brain/left brain myth and looked at a more contemporary, cognitive neuroscience theory of brain regions and creativity centers, let’s look at how to tap into the potential of your creative brain.

1. Performing Arts

One way to tap into your creative brain centers is to participate in the performing arts. Whether you improvise, act, or dance, the performing arts allow you an embodied experience that will help you snap out of your habitual, logical thoughts.

Another benefit of the performing arts is that it changes your attention. Attention and creativity are inextricably linked. When we improvise, act, or dance, we have to focus intently on our fellow performers. This means we are forced to focus less on our conscious, logical thoughts. This frees us up for more creative thinking and expression.[7]

One of the conclusions of my research on improvisation is that focusing intensely on fellow improvisers and the task at hand makes it more likely that we experience a flow state. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi,[8] a Professor of Psychology and Management defines flow as an optimal psychological state when our skills match the difficulty of the task at hand. Our perception of time is altered as we get into the zone and become more present and in the moment during our chosen activity.[9]

A flow state is a creative state. It’s the opposite of crunching numbers and forcing ourselves to work out a problem with the conscious regions of our brain. So, get up, improvise, act, or dance to access your creativity.

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2. Visual Art

Art teacher Betty Edwards[10] wrote a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Here again, we see that a shift in our attention can lead us to an increase in our creative thinking.

Edwards’ book gives art students tricks to shift the way they see the world. For example, one exercise encourages students to literally flip whatever it is they’re drawing upside down before they draw it. This forces budding artists to literally see the object in a new way. This shift allows them to focus more on the individual components and patterns of the object, which allows them to draw it better.

Shifting how we see things is another way we can access our creative brain centers. Take an art class to shut off your conscious, critical thoughts and start seeing things from a new, more creative perspective.

3. Zone Out

If there’s one thing creativity doesn’t like, it’s being coerced.

I think we’ve all felt that awful feeling of trying to force ourselves to be creative. When we force it, we’re really trying to force our logical brain regions to be creative. It’s like asking your gardener to perform your appendix surgery. It’s just not what she does.

Instead, stop forcing it. Take a break. Take a long walk or a relaxing bath or shower. Let your mind wander.

Whatever you do, stop forcing it. This break lets your creative centers rise to the surface of your attention and get heard.

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4. Practice Mindfulness

The final trick to start accessing your so-called right brain is to practice mindfulness.

Now, there’s a lot of different ways to go about mindfulness. You can take a more physical approach with a yoga class. Or you can try meditating to become more aware and in tune with your thoughts and feelings: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

You could also try to incorporate fun mindfulness exercises[11] into your everyday routine like forcing yourself to go on detours or pretending you’re a detective who needs to examine people and places closely.

Any way you do it, mindfulness exercises and training can help you become better versed in how your brain works and what your normal thought process is like on a day-to-day basis. If we’re ever going to reach our optimal creativity, we have to become an expert in how our individual brain functions. Mindfulness is one way to become your very own brain expert.

Mindfulness also has added benefits like calming us, slowing our breathing, and helping us become more observant, which are also great ways to start tapping into our creative potential.

Final Thoughts

So, it may not be correct to say that our right brain is our creative brain, but it is still a valid pursuit to try to optimize our creative brain centers.

The key to do so is to relax, become observant, shift your perspective, move your body, try something new, and, whatever you do, don’t force it.

Creativity can feel slippery. It can abandon us when we need it most, but by slowing down and looking at things from a new perspective, we can give ourselves a better chance of tapping into our ultimate creativity, even if that doesn’t exactly mean our “right brain.”

More Tips on Boosting Creativity

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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