Mindfulness and addictions
Stress that leads into pleasure seeking behaviour whether that be; food, drugs, alcohol, overthinking, online activity, sex or some forms of fidgeting. These all are pleasure seeking activities.
If not in line with enhancing your life they can become addictions once completed in a repeating fashion. These activities send messages along the mesolimbic brain pathway leading to production of dopamine.
The posterior cingulate that is responsible for emotion processing in the brain, is responsible for remembering the activity you did to gain a dopamine release. This can lead you into pleasure seeking behaviour that can then become habit forming.
It is also linked to a part of the brain that is used for remembering where food is to survive. This is attached to our survival instinct and is why it is so hard to stop an addiction.
Being hard-wired to that will undoubtedly be a difficult thing to let go of, so remember the next time you feel bad for not being able to stop.
Mindfulness is a healthier way to produce those results and a healthier habit for the brain to remember that reduces stress.
Here is the mindfulness rain solution by Dr Judson Brewer:
Recognise the trance state you are in. What has caused your stress and leading you into seeking out the thing you think you need? Relax into that.
Acknowledge everyone gets stressed and this is your stress. What do you need to do? Step back.
Investigate what’s happening to your body.
Note the body’s reaction to stress. OK this is an aching back, OK this is tension, OK this is anger, OK this is fidgeting.
The thing you crave is not a part of you. It is something you want, to relieve stress and body sensations that are uncomfortable to you.
Between the stimulus and response, there is a space, in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. - Viktor Frankl.
Reflecting and noticing what you gain/ lose from your habits. Notice what you gain/lose from mindfulness. There are also observations that a regular practice of prayer produces the same results in distracting the self from the unhealthy pleasure seeking behaviour.
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About Sandra Williams
I am a transactional analysis psychotherapist in the Burnley area. My background is in NHS health care, youth work and mental health. Psychotherapy works well with those suffering with depression, bereavement, anxiety/disorder, stress, childhood issues, trauma and addiction recovery.