Dr. Judith Wright, Author, Speaker, Professional Coach 445 East Ohio Street, Suite #400
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Q:
Do you have soft addictions, Judith?

A:
Absolutely. We all do. They are less a part of my life now than they once were. For example, food had a powerful hold on my time and energy. I devoured recipes in magazines and frequently fantasized about food, loved cooking, and looked forward to eating. I used this and other activities (biting my nails, procrastinating, and zoning out over my textbooks) to hide from my feelings. I didn't know at that time that it was my spiritual hunger that needed feeding more than my physical hunger. So I did what I could to swallow my pain and push my feelings out of my awareness. I still bite my nails and flip through catalogs more than I'd like to, but I'm much more aware when I choose to do these things, and know I can choose to stop.
Q:
I understand the concept of soft addictions and I get it about making better choices, but in the moment, I'm still not making better choices. How do I do that more often?

A:
Adding more nourishing activities in your life makes you less susceptible in the moment. Plan some positive breaks for yourself — breathe, have a great cup of tea, read something inspiring. Sometimes by the time we are grabbing a soft addiction, it's harder to stop. If you do indulge, try doing it a little less - like eat half a candy bar instead of a whole one. That can be much easier than stopping once you are on a roll.
Q:
I notice late at night I really want to go into my soft addictions, like overeating. What can I do to support and comfort myself late at night?

A:
Remember how, as little children, we often had "bedtime" rituals — brushing our teeth and reading a story or saying our prayers? Well, as adults, we need transitions from the day, too. Set up some nourishing rituals for yourself that you do every night. Give yourself some time to unwind from the day — exercise, talk to a friend, journal your thoughts and feelings, put the headphones on and listen to a great piece of music. Maybe you might light a candle and say a prayer, or turn down your bed and pray on your knees before getting into bed.
Q:
I hold in my feelings a lot. At the end of the day I know they're all there but I shut down. How do I deal with them when there are so many all at once?

A:
Most of us have many feelings at one time. The end of the day is a particularly vulnerable time when our feelings from the day tend to surface. Just knowing that you have feelings is a great start. Talking to a friend helps, or journaling your feelings and thoughts can help you sort them out. If you don't like to write, try drawing a picture to express yourself. Your feelings don't really have to be "dealt" with; they need to be felt and expressed. Anything you can do to express them will help. Let a tear flow down your face, stomp out your anger or air punch, feel fear in your body and let it go. You might want to learn some dynamic breathwork or bioenergetics exercises, which are also ways to help you express your feelings.
Q:
In many ways I live a life of MORE. But when I'm with family, old friends, or people I don't know very well, I act like I don't. What do you suggest? How can I be more myself with them?

A:
It's time to come out of the closet and let people know who you really are. You can start by telling them the obvious truth - what you just admitted here. Pick anything — how you're using your time differently, how you're giving up certain energy-zapping habits and picking up new, healthy ones, how you are trying to be more "awake" in your life. People might accept what you're saying more readily than you think!
Q:
I know this Web site talks about MORE and soft addictions, but what is "MORE"?

A:
The answer varies from person to person and you'll find ideas and tools throughout this Web site and my book to help define the "More" for yourself. But, in a nutshell, I'd say we discover more life, love and meaning as we commit ourselves to taking the journey to discover More. I don't think More is a destination. Rather it's a decision and a journey to fulfill our deepest hungers. By meeting our deeper needs directly and releasing soft addictions, we are more fulfilled. By not spending so much time, energy and money on insidious soft addiction routines, we have the wherewithal and resources to pursue more meaningful activities. We feel more awake, alive, and present in our own lives. We spend more time developing our gifts and talents and making a difference in the world.
Q:
How did you wake up to your soft addictions?

A:
One day I made the "One Decision" to no longer mask my hungers by trying to fill the emptiness within through meaningless, anxious activities. I decided to do what I could to feed the hunger directly. I discovered a deeper me under the soft addictions — someone who cared deeply, wanted more out of life, had gifts and talents to develop and share. I learned to be with myself rather than avoid myself through limiting habits; I started to be aware of my feelings more, rather than numb them. I learned to honor my feelings and go toward them rather than running away. I also began to add more nourishing, life-sustaining foods and activities that brought self-pampering, pleasure and laughter to my life. As I added nourishing behaviors I noticed the soft addictions lost their allure and their grip on me.
Q:
From reading your Web site, I know I have a lot of soft addictions but I can't see quitting them all. I know it would be just like a million failed diets I've gone on. What do I do?

A:
The point is not to go "cold turkey" on your soft addictions. It's actually not a good strategy. In my book, I talk about the "Math of MORE." Through the Math of MORE, you keep adding activities and behaviors and things to your life that nourish and sustain you. As you add these things, you can gradually begin to let go of the things that don't serve you any longer. But most importantly, just being on the journey will serve you. For example, let's say you overeat when you're scared. You may go out to dinner and still snarf the entire breadbasket before the waitress takes your drink order, but by raising your awareness you can also ask yourself what you're feeling that's causing you to reach for the bread basket. You might choose instead to open up a little more to the person that you're dining with. Consciousness is really the game.
Q:
I know you talk about having a sense of humor about your soft addictions. I'd like to have one but I tend to get really serious about it. Any tips?

A:
There are lots of ways to lighten up about your soft addictions. One idea is to write a story about yourself as if you were a character in a movie or a novel. Pick a pseudonym that makes you laugh. Then write out your story from that perspective. Have fun with how funny you are about your soft addictions. Here's a quick example.Meet Brenda. Every morning Brenda wakes up only after multiple hits on the snooze alarm. She rushes into the shower at the last possible minute and puts on her makeup in the car on the way to work. Afraid to jump into her list of things to do, she makes a side trip to Starbucks for a little treat of coffee and a muffin, then she.you get the idea.

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