We live in an addiction-creating culture. Beyond drugs and alcohol, many of us have unhealthy attachments to food, exercise, sex — even social media. In this episode, we explore the motivations, beliefs and desires behind addictive behaviors and suggest some strategies for evolving those habits that are causing us harm.

On this episode of The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Addiction — what that phenomenon is all about, and how to address the sometimes subtle dependencies that may show up in our own lives.

We address everything from physical and psycho-emotional attachments to food, exercise, social media and sex, to that after-work “I need a drink!” feeling.

We also help you reflect on the dynamics that can drive your own addictive tendencies so you can start to shift them in ways that work for you.

“Addiction” Episode Highlights

  • Our all-purpose definition of addiction (3:10)
  • Cool neuroscience — the pharmacy inside your brain (7:00)
  • How the biochemicals associated with stress feed our dependencies (8:35)
  • Figuring out the root causes of addiction, and noticing how our culture helps create them (15:00)
  • The connection between addiction and lack of human connection  (19:50)
  • Breaking the addictive cycle with mindful practices and conscious choices (22:00)
  • The satisfaction problem — why it’s hard to get “enough” porn, doughnuts, and social media (28:45)
  • The connection between women’s “food” issues and a lack of sensual satisfaction (31:00)
  • How guilt and shame drive self-destructive behaviors (33:10)
  • Shifting our addictive tendencies (37:20)
  • The importance of tracking the outcomes of your choices (39:30)
  • This week’s experiments (41:55)

Why do you do what you do? Identify your addictions.

  • Using our definition of addiction, take a look at your own behaviors. Do they make your life better? Are you doing them even though they’re harming you?

Challenge your daily alcohol ritual, and observe your attachments.

  • If you usually have a drink after work, first sit down with a glass of water and just reflect on how you are presently feeling (body and mind). Then notice how it might feel to do without the wine, beer or cocktail on this particular day. What does the drink represent? What are the feelings that come up when you even consider withholding it?

Share the Love!

Each week, we offer you a few life-shifting experiments to try on your own. We’d love to hear how they turn out, and what insights they provoke. Connect with The Living Experiment on Facebook and share your stories there.