Source | Linkedin.com | BY:Jill Whalen, Jill Whalen, Author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety, Blogger, Transformational Coach
Raise your hand if you’re a workaholic.
If you work 10+ hours a day, my Magic 8 Ball tells me that “chances are good” you are.
Like most workaholics, you probably have lots of
excuses reasons why you have to work.
“Someone’s gotta do it.”
“Not enough time in the day.”
“I’m the only one who can do it right.”
I might ruffle some feathers here, but I’m calling bullshit on all of it.
The reason you are a workaholic is, just like all addictions, it feels good to you.
Confused? Stay with me here.
We humans have a lot on our minds at any given time. All the thoughts passing through us every moment of every day, creates corresponding feelings in our bodies. When our minds are so busy (as most are) we can’t even distinguish one thought from the next. This can create a lot of stress, anxiety and worry, which feels extremely crappy in our bodies.
Because we have a built-in drive to feel better, we end up seeking out all sorts of soothing behaviors.
For some of us, the quest for better feelings comes from our career path.
We believe that if we are successful in our job or business, and climb the corporate ladder (or whatever) it’ll make us happy. But job aspirations can often take our focus away from other areas of our life. This single-minded focus can look like selfishness to our family and friends.
And in many ways it is.
Dictionary.com defines selfishness as, “Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.”
Whether it’s our career, what we do with our free time, or who we like to hang out with, we do it according to what feels good and right to us at the time. Sure, there is often the thought that in the long run, whatever it is we’re doing at this moment will benefit everyone in the end.
But what keeps us doing what we’re doing is that we like it.
It feels good to us.
What’s a workoholic to do?
The answer is the same for any addictive behavior or habit:
Insightfully seeing that we are doing our habit because when we do it, our mind is quieter and not focused on our scary thoughts as much, so we feel better.
In other words, keeping busy with work (or drinking, or overeating, etc.) seems to keep our anxiety at bay. So we keep doing it. Even when it causes problems in other areas of our lives.
The interesting thing is that because we’ve used our work in this way for so long, and because it’s seemed to have eased our anxiety so well, we may not even think we have anxiety issues. That’s how it was for me. It wasn’t until I saw all my addictions, including my work, for what they were, that I saw just how much anxiety I had been dealing with.