Archive for November 6th, 2007

Man behind desk (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Workaholism and compulsive busy-ness are big problems in the United States, but because of our lifestyle, society applauds them rather than viewing them as the coping mechanisms that they are. Fathers are physically and emotionally absent from their families while they work 60+ hours a week, and society says this is a good thing. Mothers are too busy running endless errands to spend time living in the moment and enjoying the blessings they have in their lives, and they are called “super moms.”

Being a workaholic or staying compulsively busy is viewed as productive and applauded by society, so some people turn to this coping tool to avoid their emotional pain. They are repressing their emotions just as surely as someone who self-injures or abuses substances, but they justify their actions by pointing to their productivity.

People who stay compulsively busy eventually burn out. When their bodies wear out, the emotions they have been running from are waiting to be heard.

If you are a workaholic or stay compulsively busy, recognize what you are doing. You are choosing to live your life in overdrive because you are afraid of facing the pain that awaits when you slow down. You are not living – you are existing while the years fly by.

To overcome this compulsion, you will need to choose to simplify your life. Cut down your work hours and volunteer commitments. Pare down your life to the things that really matter, and carve out a block of time for yourself. Then, prepare yourself to face the emotions that you have been repressing. As soon as you slow down, they will come.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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