An addictive personality isn’t all bad – here’s how to leverage it to your benefit
10/22/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Having an addictive personality might seem like a bad thing, but you can turn it around to your benefit. For example, an addictive personality can teach you how to be more mindful and resilient.

A person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mania, or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) may be familiar with the symptoms of an addictive personality. These conditions can often make you think that you're "not normal" or that you lack self-control.

If you have an addictive personality, remember that other people are going through the same experience. Don't treat your condition as a curse, and find ways to overcome your shortcomings.

Here are the four benefits of having an addictive personality, along with suggestions on how to use these advantages to improve your life.

You're more willing to take creative risks

Some studies suggest that people with addictions have one thing in common: They're more likely to gravitate "toward novelty and new experiences." Judy Grisel, a behavioral scientist who specializes in addictions, explained that being predisposed to appreciating novelty makes you more open to risks.

Grisel suggested that addictive people are risk-takers at heart who are always looking for new thrills and that these attributes help advance society. People who are open to new experiences may also tend to be creative.

Think of ways to use your openness to new experiences as an advantage. Ask yourself if there are healthy career risks that you can take and if these risks can benefit or inspire you.


You have incredible willpower

Jonathan Marshall, a psychologist and leadership professor, noted that a person with an addictive personality is dedicated to pursuing their obsessions. This "extraordinary capacity for discipline" is a remarkable feat, and it suggests that you can channel your willpower to achieve great things.

Use this discipline to channel your willpower into a healthy and productive endeavor, like learning new skills you can apply at work. You can achieve anything you want, even if you have an addictive personality, by working hard.

It makes you more mindful

When you have an addictive personality, your anxiety can fill your mind with endless thoughts. On the other hand, anxiety can make you feel like you want to escape your mind.

However, having addictive behaviors means you have to master your triggers or notice what prompts you to have an urge to do something. (Related: Can mindfulness save the world? Here’s an example of how it cultivates insight.)

Mastering your triggers will help you control your mind, boost your mindfulness, and improve your self-awareness. These skills can then improve your sense of well-being.

To master your triggers, Marshall recommends asking yourself two questions:

  1. What triggers these strong desires?
  2. When do they happen?

Being able to anticipate your triggers gives you control over them. When you feel a trigger coming on, learn how to observe the cravings as another thought instead of letting the trigger overwhelm you.

To deal with your cravings, ground yourself. Do this by shuffling your feet on the floor and doing a quick three-breath meditation that will reset your brain's fear center.

Here's another exercise that can teach you basic mindfulness meditation.

  • Sit on a straight-backed chair.
  • Focus on one aspect of your breathing, like your stomach rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  • After you’ve narrowed your concentration, start to widen your focus. Be more aware of your ideas and other sensations.
  • Accept each thought or sensation without classifying it as either "good" or "bad." If your mind starts to wander, re-focus on your breathing, then expand your awareness again.

Keep practicing these exercises to become more mindful and self-aware.

It improves your resilience

Having addictive tendencies means you're always fighting your urges. But instead of being frail and giving in to your addictive personality, you can become resilient by learning from your experiences.

Don't be complacent because you're scared of failure. This will only make you helpless and scared of perceived failure.

Failure isn't the enemy. Rather, inaction is. Take risks and learn from failure to become more resilient.

If you have an addictive personality, don't despair because your mind works differently. Overcome your shortcomings and addictive tendencies to become more creative, mindful, and resilient.

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