Can you pick healthier addictions?

Dear friends,

Most spiders are venomous, however, only a few (brown recluse and black widow in the U.S.) are of significant concern. As such spider bites are rare and fatalities due to these bites extremely rare (few to none each year). Dog bites are much more common (800,000 per year with 20 fatalities). More lethal than any of them are the innocent looking deer, which kill approximately 130 people every year – with head on collisions. Even more deadly than all of these are the delicious calorie-dense foods.

Calorie-dense foods, packed with cholesterol needles and sugar bullets, attack our cardiovascular system and in repeated large doses can clog our arteries.

Because of the foregoing, when we find ourselves in a room packed with ‘life-threatening’ items like donuts, ice cream, candies, pretzels, and pizza, shouldn’t we run away shouting in fear – “They are serving calorie-dense food! They are out to kill us!”

We don’t do that. Quite the contrary, we get attracted, and can’t resist the temptation.

We get attracted because, for our ancestors, calorie-dense foods had tremendous survival value. This is one of our many unhealthy addictions to short-term gratifications. Most of our innate addictions aren’t healthy – calorie-dense food, excessive alcohol, tobacco, gambling, recreational drugs. Each of these temporarily increases dopamine and other happy chemicals in our brain’s reward pathways.

The beauty of our neural instrument is that we can train it. We can unlearn our predispositions and learn new habits, blessed as we are, with the gift of choice. We truly have the power to pick our compulsions.

You can, if you choose, pick gratitude, kindness, hope and physical exercise as your addictions. Each of these, repeated enough, can give the same high that other better-known addictions do. They can also be fun and exciting.

Our minds can’t escape being addicted. However, it is up to us – to choose – our addictions. The cravings you pick will shape your lives.

If you can, get your loved ones and friends hooked to kindness. It will gift you and them a more fulfilled life.

You become what you get addicted to. Get yourself and others addicted to kindness.

Take care,

Amit
@amitsoodmd

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