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Moderation is a word that a lot of people don’t really appreciate or understand.  People often find that they are taking things to extremes.  Normally these extremes can be related to addictive behaviours.  An ‘all or nothing’ attitude is developed over a period of time, and before people know it, they are doing things to total excess or not at all.  A few examples of this include –

1. Work

2. Exercise

3. Food

4. Sex

5. Alcohol and/ or drugs

6. Studying

Often people who cannot and don’t recognise the world of moderation, are addicts.  And the behaviour that they develop becomes an addiction.  This could mean for example working all the hours of the week, and struggling to even sit still.  But then becoming very ill after a few months and being forced to stay in bed for days.  Another example could be over exercising, until an injury happens.  Patterns of behaviour often develop with food or alcohol, such as binges, or total restriction.  People fall into a mindset, whereby they feel that they are either being ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  There is quite simply nowhere in between.

This mindset / way of operating, often comes from lack of self esteem, and people can often be trying to validate themselves, or attempting to prove thier self worth.  In addition to this it may be that they feel they are not good enough and therefore push themselves so hard in order to gain love/adoration, or even appreciation.  The ironic thing is that resentment and frustration are then likely to build, because people keep pushing and pushing, until they crack, whilst feeling that other people are not helping or supporting them.

There is actually another way of doing things.  The world of moderation offers balance and harmony.  But it is hard to comprehend this at first.  Counselling is a really good way of helping people to understand why they have developed these patterns of behaviour, and understanding what these patterns give them.  It identifies the role that addictions play in a persons life and then challenges them.

Other useful ways of challenging these behaviours and of working towards a more harmonious way of living, are by starting some relaxation each week.  This could be either a yoga or pilates class, or perhaps reading, or walking.  Anything that is not obsessional, that calms the mind down and that makes people feel more grounded.  Regular breaks are also recommended in each day, and people need to challenge themselves to stop more often. This could be for example having a night in by themselves, running a hot bath, getting an early night, listening to music or watching a film.  The choices are individual – but the key is being able to stop still and be.

Breathing techniques are also recommended and deep breaths do need to be taking.  Being able to breath properly is a vital part of switching off and relaxing.  Getting enough sleep is equally important, as is following a balanced diet.  This means three meals a day with three snacks, and incorporating all food types – not leaving anything out, or having too much of one thing.  The same goes for alcohol.  It is for example better to have a couple of drinks more regularly then to go out on a massive binge.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and people with eating disorders and alcohol / drug addiction should seek more specialist interventions.  These tips are here for guidance, and to assist people in thier journey towards a more balanced way of living.