By now, we’re all very familiar with the term addiction.
Addiction usually means something bad or negative. It usually means some type of substance or behavior that is overtaking your life, like alcohol, sex, gambling, or drugs.
But what about the concept of positive addictions?
William Glasser wrote about this concept in his book, Positive Addictions.
He believed that we could replace negative addictions in our life and develop positive ones instead. Addictions that benefited our well-being or overall positive mood. In his book, Glasser referenced running and meditation as positive addictions.
But, you can be addicted to exercise, shopping, or pretty much anything, so how does he draw the line?
Glasser outlines six criteria that make up a positive addiction that I’m going to paraphrase here:
- It has to be a non-competitive activity that you can devote at least 1 hour to each day
- The activity should be easy for you and require little to no mental effort
- You should be able to do the activity by yourself or with others but it does not depend on the participation of others
- It has to bring something of value to you, whether its physical, spiritual, or mental
- You recognize that persistence in the activity may bring improvement but that isn’t the goal. Improvements are subjective and based on your own measurements.
- There is no self-criticism allowed. It is only how much you enjoy the activity and how it benefits your well-being, not how good at it you are.
Personally, I’m not sure how much I enjoy the word choice of “addiction” when referring to these, so I’m going to refer to them more as positive habits. I have heard of recovering addicts becoming addicted to their recovery but I believe that is a whole other topic.
I think any addiction or anything that has the potential to be addictive is going to, at least temporarily, make you feel good and that could leave the door open for a lot of misunderstanding, especially with habits such as exercise.
So, we’re refocusing a little bit here and I think the concept that Glasser has is great but we’re going to re-frame the idea as looking at positive habits, rather than positive addictions.
What are some positive habits I could adopt?
- Painting or drawing
- Learning a new skill, such as cooking or baking
- Running, jogging, or exercising
- Learning a new game or sport
- Studying a spiritual text
- Going for light walks
- Learn to sew
- Learn to knit
- Learn a new language
Quitting a negative addiction is hard and that is a monumental understatement. When you replace a negative habit or addiction in your life you are almost hyper-aware of everything in your life for a while because everything now reminds you of that habit.
It’s important to remember that your new, positive habit is not there to stress you out. It’s there to help you manage your stress and add a sense of value to your life.
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