Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

Last week, I wrote the post “Overspending,” about a recent shopping trip that resulted in my spending too much money and feeling that I had acted in a compulsive manner. Although there were important lessons inherent in that individual experience, it also raised the issue of compulsive behavior in general. This post is geared toward examining compulsive behavior, getting to the root of why we engage in such destructive actions, and looking at what we can do to begin to turn it around.
Compulsiveness Takes Many Forms…

I shared about my shopping and spending issues, but these are far from the only forms of compulsive behaviors with which I’ve struggled. I’ve also engaged in compulsive overeating, dieting, and exercising, and spending too much time working or surfing the internet, among other things. You may have grappled with similar issues, or you may have had problems with drinking, drugs, gambling, sex, or any number of other maladaptive behaviors. It doesn’t matter which of these behaviors has plagued you, the problem is usually rooted in the same causes.

I want to briefly interrupt my discussion of Louise Hay’s Key Principles in order to share a personal practice that has made a big difference in my life. I will return to the Key Principles in my next post…

I’ve often heard that the biggest key to happiness is gratitude, and I don’t doubt that. When we are present to all that is wonderful in our lives, it’s difficult to feel depressed and despondent. As I look back on my life, I can see that even in my most difficult times, I still had a lot to be grateful for in my life. I just had to look in the right place! It’s all about focus and attitude, I’ve learned.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

To help me to stay aware of the many blessings in my life, I started to keep a Gratitude Journal a few years ago. I confess that I haven’t always been consistent with this practice, but when I’ve maintained my Gratitude Journal, it’s helped me to be more positive and upbeat. Here’s how it works…