It is my belief that a huge contributor to anxiety disorders is an addiction to worry.
As a worry addict myself, I know it may feel “right” and natural to worry, and as though it is giving us some sense of control over our problem, but worrying does far more harm than good. I frequently tell people that they must resist the urge to worry and repeatedly dwell on problems. The response I usually get in return is “Well that’s easier said than done.”
Quite often, this is also the response that people give when they are told they should break up with an unhealthy boyfriend or girlfriend, or that they should stop smoking cigarettes or eating unhealthy foods. There is often an element of addiction involved in all of these things and it can make them incredibly difficult to give up, no matter how bad for us they are. It seems as though our brain has made the choice to want these things, and we are powerless to do anything about it. After all, our brain has a louder voice than we have so what can we do? Right?
There is always the exception for victims of extreme trauma, mental illness, or chemical dependency. But for the most part,we are fully in charge of the choices we make – not our brains. And we MUST use our power to stop making unhealthy choices, no matter what they are, if we want to function at our best mental level, and be the most in control of our lives.
It may not be easy to say no to our addictions, but it can be done. It may not be comfortable to say no to them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Leave how “comfortable” it is entirely out of the equation. It is irrelevant. So many people make bad choice after bad choice simply because it is hard. The truth is, life is hard whether you feed your addiction or starve it. The only difference is whether it is hard because you are filled with a lack of respect for yourself for feeding your addiction and having to live with all of the fallout from it, or if it is hard because you are standing up to your addiction and fighting off the urges to indulge it. Either way you are going to be uncomfortable, but ONE of those choices offers you a way out. Each time you say NO to your addiction you are taking one more step down the path to freedom. Some addictions have longer paths than others and setbacks are going to happen, but if you keep saying NO over and over again, eventually you will get to a point where you are no longer controlled by something that is hurting you – and when you get there, I assure you it is the best feeling ever.
You have always been and always will be the ultimate captain of what goes on in your head and the decisions and choices you make. Do not downplay your power and speak to yourself as if you aren’t fully in charge of the choices you make. Remind your brain who is really in charge. The more consistent you are, and the more conviction that you do this with, the easier it will be. Say you’re kicking a marihuana addiction, a resource like CAHI.org will be helpful on that journey.
It doesn’t matter what it is you have a hard time walking away from.
You have the power to say no. Never throw that power away.
I understand that this is not a mindset that you can snap your fingers and start achieving instant results with, but all great things start with a single thought. Repeat this affirmation to yourself often:
I am strong enough to say no to unhealthy choices and behaviors.”
Remind yourself that you are strong, bold, and able to make choices for yourself that are wise and loving, even if they hurt and even if saying no makes you feel like you want to crawl out of your skin.
If you truly struggle and absolutely don’t feel strong enough to stop engaging in unhealthy behaviors, then repeat this affirmation anyway, even if you don’t believe it, and please ask for help from family, friends, and or a therapist who can teach you how to harness your power to say no to your unhealthy urges. You deserve support if you need it, and you owe it to yourself to get. It shows strength, not a weakness to seek help!