We all get tired. We all feel lonely. We all feel sad, jealous, envious, hurt, beaten down, unattractive, ugly, worthless, unmotivated, and shy.
If you feel these feelings too often, please go and find help. I’ve been down that road. There’s no shame in admitting you need counselling or other help.
But everyone does feel this way once in awhile. happiness is a habit, one that must be cultivated. If anyone has ever told you to ‘just be happy’ then you should tell them to fuck off.
When we do feel these emotions or tiredness, we often want to go and do that thing that we do that helps us recharge. For some people, this means being alone with a good book, or watching some TV. For some it means playing hours of violent video games. For others it means going out with friends and having a good time. There are introverts and extroverts and everyone has their own thing. Some people (like myself) are ambiverts, a bit of both.
but when does this behaviour become self-destructive?
Some people turn to drugs or alcohol, some to food, some to sleep. I maintain that even these things are fine, in moderation. Self-medication is what we do, but even TV, video games, or hanging out with friends can become destructive if we do it too much. It’s possible to become a serial medicator.
Its when these escapes dominate your day, when the activity becomes detrimental to the things you truly want and need in your life. You know it’s bad, you know you want to try harder and work more and achieve more, but you’re trapped in a cycle of ‘just wanting to escape.’
So how do we escape the cycle of self-medication? Two words: Planning and Action!
By planning out your time, you can allow yourself an hour of medication, and then say ‘I’m going to spend 30 minutes doing (insert productive thing that will help you in the long run).’ It doesn’t take much, but you will feel like you’ve accomplished something. And planning leads to Action. If you plan it out, it’s a lot easier to put down the remote, get up and do. I mean its only 30 minutes! Action is always the right choice. I’m going to repeat that.
Action is ALWAYS the right choice!
Taking action instantly gives us the feeling of accomplishment, and begins the art of habit-forming (that’s another story). It instils feelings of pride, even if its something as small as doing the dishes, or tidying up a bit, or going for a walk.
It ultimately requires a bit of self-analysis. Look at the habits you’ve formed and know yourself well enough to know when things need to change. I’ve given you the how, you just need to know if and when.
And I should definitely mention the opposite side of the coin. There is such a thing as too much work too. Workaholics are not happy people.
Benjamin Franklin’s day plan sums it up nicely:
Go out and find your own balance.