Ever feel like everywhere you look all the people you see are thriving and growing? I am a 29 year old female with a masters degree, a growing private practice for counseling and an amazing full time job with benefits I could never dream of having! Not to mention I have the most amazing husband, sure our living circumstances aren’t the best, but they certainly are not the worst. But it still feels as though something is missing; I am still searching for the next place to be happy. Why can’t I be happy where I am right now?
Though destination addiction is not a coined term in the mental health world, it is gaining popularity with today’s young adults. So what is destination addiction? It is holding off on being happy until you’re at the next place, whether it is the next home, the next house, the next event, the next whatever; you don’t allow yourself to be happy in the moment with what you have and where you are. I am guilty as fuck here. I am always looking forward to the next destination where “I will be happy” and I cannot be happy now and where I am currently.
So how do we get through this? I am personally working through this in my own therapy and I have learned a lot but have a lot to learn still. So here is what I am working on and please take and modify to make it your own to avoid this destination addiction.
Create a safe space for you in your home. A space to be present and mindful in. A space to do the activities you enjoy, reading, writing, drawing, watching netflix, etc.
Gratitude journaling. Each evening write 5 things you are grateful for.
Journaling period. Writing our thoughts a feelings is so beneficial in all areas of our emotions and thoughts.
Practice mindfulness. What does it meant to be mindful and present? The first easy step is to take in your 5 senses…
What do you see? Describe the details, color texture, etc.
What do you smell? What thoughts come to you with that smell?
What do you hear? Is it loud, is it peaceful, annoying, (if so change it)
What do you feel? Touch the ground around you, the cushion you are sitting on or the surface of the counter near you.
Taste your world, drink some tea, water, coffee, juice. Pay deep attention to that taste and the feelings that arise with it.
Try guided meditations, there are a lot in the app world out there. Calm, Breathe, and many more.
Take time out to be present and appreciative of the tasks you enjoy doing. If you are doing yoga, being with your friends or family, be present. Don’t let your mind take you to the future when you can be happy where you are now. Also, take a break from your phone and look up.
Take care of you in the moment, eat healthy, drink water, shower, brush your teeth, do what you need to do to take care of you.
Balance the survival techniques you use and getting through the problem. For me, I run away from my house because I hate being there. I leave every weekend, but that is my survival mode. I am working on creating new survival modes and being present. Easier said than done.
I am creating a safe space. I am doing activities I enjoy around my home during the day and trying to be home at night. I am constantly holding off on being happy because I am waiting for my own home to start my own life. Let me tell you, this is so hard and not really a way to live. Create time to be happy in the present.
So why is the word addiction next to destination? Often we are so preoccupied in the thought of our next move that we are creating an idea that brings us the “good feeling” chemicals released in our brain, dopamine and serotonin. We end up creating this “fact” that happiness is never where we are, it is at this unobtainable destination. It is not healthy.
Next time you catch yourself thinking, I will be happy when I, (insert goal here). Not saying having goals are a problem, but don't hold off on being happy until you obtain that goal. Take time to be happy now. Be present and thankful now.