Overcoming an addiction of any sort is not an event; it is a process. As anyone who has overcome the dependence upon any substance or harmful activity will tell you, there will be setbacks. However those who have successfully beaten those addictions will also tell you that these setbacks can be overcome; that the compulsion can be conquered. One’s own willpower can be a powerful tool to help control and reduce destructive behaviors.
Some experts liken will power to a muscle – the more you utilize it, the stronger it becomes. Here’s how to strengthen your willpower to help you regain your own volition and hence control over your own life:
Meditation is a powerful tool for mind control. It is a process where you learn to center and calm your mind. You learn to empty it of thoughts and to control its wandering. When you first start to meditate, you will invariably find a hundred uncontrollable thoughts flooding your mind. However, as you learn the right technique and practice it, you learn self awareness and will be able to control your impulsive tendencies much better.
The more you sleep, the fewer hours you are awake to temptation! Seriously though, adequate and restful sleep will genuinely help you bolster your will power. Sleep deprivation is thought to sap good judgment and make one susceptible to temptation. Tiredness is not conducive to developing a strong willpower, so prioritize sleep in your life.
Develop healthy lifestyle habits
Eat healthy so that the body and mind gets the nutrition it needs. This will help ward off cravings and make you more able to withstand them. Exercise regularly. Exercise is thought to release certain feel-good hormones that will put you in a more positive frame of mind; which in turn will make you feel stronger and more able to resist urges that you don’t want to give in to. Getting fitter and healthier can be a project that will engage and occupy your mind. It can become a goal in itself and will positively occupy the mind space that could have otherwise been taken up by your unhealthy preoccupation.
Devise a systematic response to temptation
In the process of weaning yourself off an addiction you probably encountered the importance of developing healthy coping mechanisms; of finding healthier ways to deal with problems. You also probably learned to avoid stressful and triggering situations and events. However you may not always be able to do so.
When you’re faced with temptation; or you encounter a problem that would typically make you resort to self destructive behaviors, have a series of responses to this. First remind yourself why it is important to not revert to destructive behaviors. Secondly remind yourself about the positive changes in your life brought on by kicking your habit. Thirdly develop a positive response to a triggering situation. Whereas earlier a stressful situation could have made you reach for an addictive substance, replace that habit with another, healthier habit: pick up the phone to speak to someone you trust, head out for a walk, or just meditate for 5 minutes.
Sarika Periwal writes family care and healthy living articles for online and offline publications. She recommends living in the midst of a helpful sober community to overcome any kind of addictive behavior.
Photo credit: Thinkstock