Stop Letting Soft Addictions Steal Your Time and Rob Your Energy

Many people are unable to reach their wellness goals because of their struggles with various addictions. The word addiction brings to mind things like alcohol and drugs. But there are more subtle forms of addiction that can sneak into your life and cause havoc.

Subtle addictions, sometimes called soft addictions, can cause real problems. This is because they are not often recognized. Addiction is defined as great interest in a particular thing to which much time is devoted, or a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a substance or behavior.

Judith Wright, author of The Soft Addiction Solution explains that, “Soft Addictions are those seemingly harmless habits like over-shopping, overeating, watching too much TV, endlessly surfing the internet, procrastinating-that actually keep us from the life we want. They cost us money, rob us of time, numb us from our feelings, mute our consciousness, and drain our energy. And we all have them.”

These kinds of addictions steal your time, but they do it in a way that appears acceptable. That is the rub, in moderation or for the right reasons, they are harmless. However, when you begin to use the behaviors to distract or numb your feelings on a regular basis, they can become destructive to your total wellness.

Because these activities appear not detrimental you allow them into our life. You start occasionally engaging in them, until eventually you become dependent on them for the feelings they provide or lack of feelings they provide. Often these behaviors are chosen as a distraction to numb your feelings and keep you from facing a hidden personal truth.

Behaviors like zoning out in front of a screen, either watching TV, playing games or surfing the net, can steal your time very quickly without you even realizing it. While some screen time is fine, too much becomes a problem. The process is insidious. Screen time can numb the mind, leading to more and more of your time being spent in front of one. Time spent being passively entertained costs you something.

Begin by asking yourself, “What do I give up when I sit in front of a screen too often?” Things like, meaningful face to face relationship building with family and friends, much-needed physical exercise, fresh air, sunshine, personal development activities, accomplishing responsibilities, reading, hobbies, helping others, and the list could go on and on.

The other alternative is deriving a replacement-feeling from the behavior. Replacement emotions occur when you get some feeling from the behavior that compensates for a feeling you are not getting from another source. For example when feeling lonely or sad, you over-eat sweets to boost your mood. You would like that boost to come from positive relationships but since it does not you choose to get it through indulgent foods.

Another example is over-shopping. When you purchase more that you need on a regular basis, there is likely a replacement emotion driving that behavior. You get a boost or sensation from your purchases that would be better derived from other things in your life.

Although seemingly harmless, practiced overtime you will regularly deny yourself that which you really need, in lieu of the behavior you have used in the past as a pacifier. This is a second-rate substitution and in the long run will leave you unhappy and unsatisfied with your situation.

Recognize these behaviors; look for areas in your life where you might be using a behavior for the wrong reason, behaviors that are not adding value to your life. Target each behavior. Discover the payoff you get from doing them. Decide what emotion or feeling is attached to the behavior. Examine more deeply what the behavior is actually covering up.

Begin by asking yourself: What am I avoiding by participating in this behavior? What is making me want to dull my emotions? What area of my life do I not want to confront? What issue needs to looked at? What more could I get from my life if I limited or avoided this behavior?

When you pull back the curtain and look at what these behaviors are hiding, you will begin to see what is lacking in your life. From that point you can start to look at what replacement behavior would add value to your life. Replace the old behavior when you become aware of it.

It is this process of Recognize, Target, Discover, Decide, Examine, and Replace, that you can begin the healing process. It will allow you to break free of the soft addictions that have been robbing you of the abundant life you are meant to have. This journey of self-discovery is not an easy one but arrival at the destination is worth all the effort involved.

Strength Training – What Are Some Common Exercises To Shape Your Upper Body?

Over the past years there is a lot of talk about what exercises actually help build muscle and which ones don’t. When I train fitness clients one of the first things I do is to start them on a workout routine which consists of compound movements. These strength training exercises get the most out of a workout in the shortest time possible. By working multiple muscles with one movement you can build lean muscle quicker.

Let’s use the bench press as an example. This movement primarily focuses on the chest muscle, but also uses the shoulders, triceps, and the abdominal muscle to move the barbell or dumbbells. That’s why compound movements work so well and why you should incorporate them in your routine as well.

I now want to give you some exercises you can do now to build muscle. These are the same fitness strategies a personal trainer would suggest to you if you were working out at a gym. You can also do these exercises at home with some equipment.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Sit on the edge of a flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your knees. In one smooth motion, roll onto your back and bring the dumbbells up to a position slightly outside and above your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forwards.

Bend your elbows at a ninety-degree angle with your upper arms parallel to the ground. Press the weights up over your chest in a triangular motion until they meet above the center line of your body. As you lift, concentrate on keeping the weights balanced and under control. Follow the same path downward.

This exercise targets your Chest

Standing Military Press

For this exercise, you will use a barbell. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart and lift the barbell to your chest. Lock your legs and hips and keep your elbows in slightly under the bar. Press the bar to arm’s length over your head.

Lower the bell to your upper chest or your chin depending on which is more comfortable for you. This exercise can also be performed with dumbbells and seated on a weight bench or stability ball.

This exercise targets your Shoulders.

Lying Triceps Extension

Sit on a flat bench holding a curl bar with an overhand grip. Lie back so that the top of your head is even with the end of the weight bench. As you are lying back, extend your arms over your head so that the bar is directly over your eyes. Keep your elbows tight and your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise.

The biggest key to this exercise is keeping your upper arms in a fixed position. Slowly lower the bar until it almost touches your forehead. Press the bar back up in a slow, sweeping arc-like motion. At the finish, lock your elbows completely.

This exercise targets the Triceps.

Side Lateral Raise

Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your side. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms turned toward your body. Keep your arms straight and lift the weights out and up to the sides until they are slightly higher than shoulder level. Then slowly lower them back down to your side again.

Keep your palms turned downward as you lift the dumbbells so that your shoulders rather than your biceps do the work. Make sure you are lifting the dumbbells up rather than swinging them up. Don’t lean forward while doing this either or you risk injury to your back.

This exercise targets your Shoulders.

Seated Dumbbell Curl

Sit at the end of a bench with your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your back straight and your head up. Start with the dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing in. Curl the weight up and twist your wrist once they pass your thighs.

Squeeze your biceps at the top and then slowly lower the weight.

Do not swing the dumbbells down; lower them as you are working those muscles! You can do this standing, but the seated position prevents bad form.

This exercise targets your Biceps.

This is just some of the upper strength training exercises that can add muscle, burn fat and get you into great shape. Just remember that nutrition plays a vital role in adding lean muscle to your body as well.

I hope this article helps you to understand by picking the right exercise routine. You will see results much quicker. Just consider starting with compound movements first.