“….even moderation to be taken in moderation”
“I usually start my morning with a coffee and a cigarette…..at the end of the day I like to relax with a glass of red wine……and if I don’t get my fix I guess I get pretty cranky” said Alison Rexford, a 23-year-old Concordia student
And she isn’t alone. Most students experience the same feelings Alison does.
We all have our personal rituals to fill the void in our lives or to help us relax. More importantly, if we can’t partake in this ritual, we get anxious, moody or even start to snap. “It’s exactly at that point where you see a negative change in your behaviour when you don’t get your ‘stimulant’ way, that you could be considered an addict of the particular commodity,” said Dr. Martha McLaughlin of the Health & Well Being Centre Clinic. “It can come down to a personal struggle between the person and the product.”
Many people may not realize they have certain addictions, and most assume thier daily habit couldn’t possibly be that detrimental. Dr. McLaughlin said that if the product gains complete control over the person, its effects can range from mild mood swings to a destructive lifestyle.
In a personal survey taken of thirty-two students between the ages of 19 and 35, a list of “popular habits” is noticeable. These habits include, in no particular order; coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, and spending money. Other common addictions are; the internet, games, seeking approval and sex.
“I think it’s important to realize who your ‘opponent’ is, and its capability,” advised Dr Shiva Gupta, who runs a clinic for drug and alcohol addiction in the N.D.G area. “Know what its strengths and weakness are, as well as your own. Find out in this relationship, just how much you require the attention of your counterpart and what happens when you cannot gain access to it.”
A person would do well to research the “opponent”, then develop a philosophy on usage. Implementing a proper diet can be one way of adding structure to one’s lifestyle. Habits can be carefully watched and kept under control.
Or one can go the more extreme route and put an end to all things considered “destructive.” But a really good back up plan is needed to fill in the huge space cleared out by the removal of the addiction.
One addiction that is very common among people of all ages is smoking, and its effects on the physiology of the body are worth noting.
The American Heart Association considers nicotine to be the addictive drug in cigarettes, and thereby brands it as one of the hardest addictions to beat. It is claimed that when you smoke a cigarette the body biologically responds to the chemical nicotine in the smoke. If you plan on cutting back or cutting out cigarettes here are some of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal you could go through: Impatience, irritability, anxiety, restlessness and depression.
Humber Et Cetera, in Toronto, has good news for those considering quitting. After you smoke your last cigarette, your heart rate and carbon monoxide levels drop to normal. Two weeks to three months later your heart attack risk drops and lung function improves. Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
If you think one of your habits has taken hold, it may not be too late. You could eventually bring it back to a manageable level in your life.
Dr. Cynthia Perkins, on the Mental Health Matters website, offers 10 essentials to balancing your life so that any serious addictions won’t spiral out of control :
“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food,” is a popular quote in the sociology of food sciences. Simply stated feed yourself good, nutrious food.
Incorporate exercise to heal the mind body and soul. Exercise releases endorphins, which are great natural pain relievers.
Participate in activities that make you feel alive and at one with the universe. A happy soul is key to sustaining joy in your life.
Take an active role in your health care
Only you know your body best. Listen to it. Be an active participant and dare to present options to your physician.
Honest direct criticism is vital to your overall mental and physical health and the quality of your relationships.
Learn as much as you can about your present health conditions. Saturate yourself with good information so you can make well-informed decisions about your personal health care.
Make priorities with your time and energy. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Allow yourself to recuperate after dealing with draining activities.
Humour and Inspiration
These two concepts are good for the soul and immune system. It helps us to keep our perspective healthy and free from negativity. Feed yourself everyday with humour and inspiration, and you’ll notice a vigorous change in your outlook on things.
Nuture Primary Relationships
People need love and support and it is important to give out love and support as well. Nurturing people you love and care for will in turn provide the same care you need.
This one hardly needs an explanation. Don’t completely drain your batteries. Take some time out to just enjoy. Don’t try and do too much; in the end it’s not worth it.
After following Dr. Perkins advice, the first thing you should notice is a boost in confidence. This boost will help you to place less emphasis on addictive habits and more priority on healthier activities. When chasing healthy alternatives, the mind is less concerned with the next “ritual”. At this point you’ll feel addicted to life, and there’s nothing bad about that!
“Things seem more slow and I have a better handle on my emotions,” said Thomas Simpson, an ex-smoker and drinker
“I only wish other people who didn’t have a chance to straighten themselves out would have just waited that extra moment before giving in.”
For counseling or information Concordia students can go to the Counseling and Development Office at either campus.
Loyola : AD 103 (ext.:3555)
S.G.W :H440. (ext: 3545)
For an appointment call: (514) 848 2424 (extension #s above)