How to Overcome Obsessive Doing to Practice Mindfulness

One of the most common obsessive addictions people have is work. Some people believe they can’t work and practice mindfulness, but that’s not true. Consider this typical situation. What started as a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job can easily become a 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. job. Naturally, you need to work and earn enough cash to pay the bills.

However, before you know it, you’re trying to earn a bit more than you actually need. And then your neighbor gets that new car, and you’re tempted to do the same. So you do, but it’s a touch out of your budget.

You go for that promotion, but you need to put in lots more hours – it’s a slippery slope to more and more doing. If working long hours is what you want, you’re fine but if it’s too much for you, or the long hours are having a negative impact on your relationships, consider looking into a different way of living.

You’re excessively doing when your balance is tipped towards your wants rather than your needs. You need to keep a balance between what you want out of life and what you actually need. Wants are desires that aren’t really essential to your life, but that you seem to chase after, like an even bigger house or wanting absolutely everyone to like you.

Needs are your basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and a sense of security. Here are some suggestions for reducing your wants and so helping you to make doing mode easier:

  • Make a list of all the things you need to do today. Then prioritize. Ensure that you put mindfulness on the list too. That goes at the top!

  • Put some things on your to-do list that aren’t urgent but fun, like reading you favorite novel or taking the kids to the cinema. Non-urgent activities give you a chance to have a breather from energy-draining doing mode.

  • Think about people you know who rarely rush from place to place. Ask them how they get everything done, or just spend more time with them.

  • Simplify your life. Remember who and what’s most important in your life and let go of the rest. As American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau said: ‘Life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.’

  • Switch television channels when adverts come on. Adverts are designed to ignite dissatisfaction in you, making you want more, more, more.

  • Invoke the being mode of mind whenever you’re doing things. Connecting with your breath or the senses is a helpful way of accomplishing this.

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