It has never been easier to live in a world that offers us “sedation tools” everywhere we look.
My son once told me he wished he had a cupboard full of sweets and chocolates so he could decide to choose when to eat them.
As he told me that, it hit me that most adults can’t do that, let alone when you are still figuring out what is right and wrong in life.
I explained to him that sugar is addictive and it is proven scientifically which he already knew.
In one study with animals, sugar has been found to produce more symptoms than is required to be considered an addictive substance. Animal data has shown significant overlap between the consumption of added sugars and drug-like effects, including bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitisation, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward and opioid effects.
Sugar addiction seems to be dependence to the natural endogenous opioids that get released upon sugar intake.
In both animals and humans, the evidence in the literature shows substantial parallels and overlap between drugs of abuse and sugar, from the standpoint of brain neurochemistry as well as behaviour.
I explained to my son that most adults can’t control their sugar intake so the idea that you can have the will power is well intended but the body chemistry will go against you.
It is easy to sedate ourselves with sugar because sugar is a legal drug. Besides it is also a drug that is sold everywhere.
I know I was addicted to sugar for years whilst deep down I lived in the illusion that I had my sugar consumption under control.
The pull to sedate myself with a “sugar treat” daily due to my constant exhaustion and stress was too great for me to keep control of it, so I always gave in.
I also believed that I had my alcohol consumption under control because I drank the recommended limit by World Health Organization (five years ago) until I was diagnosed with cancer.
It was easy to sedate myself four nights every seven nights weekly with the excuse that I needed to de-stress myself or that this was the “me time” I needed.
The World Health Organization has now published a statement in The Lancet Public Health on the 4th January 2023 to say that when it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.
I am an advocate for alcohol abstinence because it has caused harm to my health, and I have worked with clients that experienced serious health issues from drinking alcohol years on end like I did “the normal limits”.
If it wasn’t for cancer, I would still be drinking alcohol today because it is easier to live in “sedation mode.”
I am thrilled the WHO has come out with this important truth that clarifies a lot of the grey areas that can justify our call for sedation.
As I entered the world of social media only three years old at forty years of age to start my online business, I didn’t understand how and why people spent so much time scrolling.
I have worked with many clients that spend a big percentage of their lives on social media, scrolling and I saw it first-hand how hard was for them to break that habit.
As I helped them to understand deeply their motives behind spending so much time scrolling, it was apparent to see deep unhappiness, loneliness, lack of real connection to themselves, their real lives and people around them.
Scrolling was the “sedation” tool they were using to cope with their deep root issues they hadn’t dealt with.
As a mother I have been trying to explain to my eleven years old son and my nine years old daughter that social media is another tool that sedates us.
Some research indicates that excessive use of social media can be related to depression and anxiety.
But again my son is trying to convince me that he will be able to set limits around his social media usage when he starts using it.
It turns out a big percentage of adults once more are not able to do that because social media has been built to become an addictive “drug”.
In one of my most recent interviews, I spoke to a fifteen-year-old teenager Jasmine Watson who suffered from depression and was self-harming about the impact on her social media usage and her health. She spoke to the fact that she had the idea to self harm from watching social media. She also realised that once she started to get better, she acknowledged that she needed to remind herself that what other people post on social media was not necessarily telling the whole truth about their lives.
On another interview with Hayley Campbell, she describes her anxiety been exacerbated by the usage of social media and the importance to keep her usage under control as much as she can.
It is not until we look within ourselves and ask ourselves what is the counterfeit fulfilment we are getting from whatever we are sedation ourselves with that we can change these habits.
Society will keep showing us “sedation tools” that are considered legal but it is up to us to acknowledge our relationship with each of them.
The sedation feeling is one of relief that lasts for minutes or seconds at times and leave us feeling guilty and disempowered in the long term. It is like when you are trying to eat healthily but you eat a cake at work because it was someone’s else birthday and you gave in once more. The seconds of joy the cake give you whilst leaving you feeling guilty about eating the whole thing two seconds after.
The sedation feeling is easy to be recognisable if we are dare to look on the inside.
But it is hard to break because the “illusion” of feeling fulfilled pulls us to keep repeating that same habit. There is always a trade to a bad habit.
Everywhere we look there is an instant gratification, a dopamine hit we can reach out to but it is always up to each of us to make a decision to leave it or take it.
With a short term vision, it is easy to take it whilst when you think about the long term vision is easier to leave it.
What are you getting from a bad habit you have been trying to replace?