The “Cure” for the Workaholic

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Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Thought | Posted on 06-12-2017

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[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

Raise your hand if you’re a workaholic.

WorkaholicIf 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.

“Demanding boss.”

“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.

Once my mind was clear, the feelings of anxiety dissipated on their own.

Seeing our workaholism for what it is–a coping strategy–helps us to let it go.

Because when we KNOW it’s our thoughts creating our anxiety and the feelings that come with it, and when we KNOW our sense of peace doesn’t actually come from our work, we are set free!

Now we can work as much as we want or need to, but without the addictive quality to it. Plus, we no longer have to fool ourselves and others by making up excuses that we HAVE to work 17 hours a day.

In fact, once our minds are more clear because we have fewer anxious thoughts, we ultimately find ourselves being more productive. So much so, that it might even be possible to do three times as much work in half the time!

The best part is that the workaholism itself will simply fall away when we no longer are using it to soothe ourselves. Which is the ultimate freedom!

How about you? Are you a workaholic? Can you see yourself in this post? Let me know below!

–Jill

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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill’s blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she’s learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many “viral” articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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