Preamble: Neil Crofts (http://www.authenticbusiness.co.uk/) does not mx words. He says the modern person is working in indentured slavery and/or is addicted to temporary hits of happiness. “Happiness seems like the end of the rainbow.”
…the happiness we feel is usually fleeting and attached to events or things. In this way we develop and understanding that happiness is external and comes from the outside.
This then leads to a constant search for happiness in external events or things.
In fact like any addiction it turns into the spiral of diminishing returns.
Recently, people have been talking about a world addicted to oil. A lot of our “comfortable” life style comes from using fossil fuels. Some call oil “slave replacements”. And yet we are probably not happier for all the oil generated comfort.
I suspect, too, that the increase in burn outs could be because we seek more hits of happiness from work, and as the hits feel smaller as time goes on we try even harder at work.
Now, my quest is visit a place that provides an excellent service for people who have, perhaps though through lack of self confidence, got into addiction to hits of happiness and are feeling the need to break away from it. This place provides therapies and or treatments and a way to help people deal with and get off the addiction.
Tapescript: Journey to the cure part one.
I am in the departure lounge, sitting on a nice redwood polished bench. I look around for a lift. I seem to be recalling many past visits from this point. Behind me is a grey lift, one I haven’t tried. I get a feeling of hospital. A cream coloured lift is next to it.
I hesitate but take the cream one.
“Happiness hits addiction” is written on the sign near the button.
The lift goes up just one flight. It opens onto what looks like a hospital corridor. Beds on either side. Should I be here? I walk along this huge corridor that at last opens onto a shopping mall, lots of busy shops on two floors.
I wonder if you can get rid of this addiction by buying something.
Can you buy your way out? Sick if you can! But I realize it is not true. Shopping gives a temporary relief to this feeling but it never lasts.
If you are really sensitive you can go into a shop and feel all that excitement from all the things there, and how they will make you feel if you own them. But it is all about how you will fell about yourself. I mean, why do people not feel good about themselves anyway?
I enter into a waiting room on the right, and go in and ask for an appointment.
“Someone will be available shortly,” says the woman behind the desk.
It looks like a beauty parlor to me here, staff are walking around in white coats. I park my self in the waiting room and ask a person sitting next to me about money and costs.
“That is the last thing you should worry about” came the reply.
“Mr. Wahlter!” Someone invites me to their office.
I meet a man in his 50s, dressed in a dark suit. “How can I help you?”
“The addiction to happiness and all that follows from it. I would like to do something about it. A course of treatments, or a way of dealing with it. Can you tell me what you offer?” I ask.
It seems they offer retreats, physiological tests, treatments etc.
I get a self-test diagnostic on paper.
Tick if the following apply to you
? Can’t sleep
? Generally bad self confidence
? Shopping does' t makes you happy or work for you any more
? Nothing makes you happy
? Slight depression
? Stomach problems
? Generally lack of self-care on basic levels, heath hygiene nutrition and living space
? Love life affected
? Working life functioning poorly
I tick yes to all. Looks like I am suffering.
“What can you do for me- to help me get myself together?”
“Life Planning and retreats,” comes the reply.
Life planning is when you review your life.
Then we offer a series of treatments to help you relax and get in touch with yourself and a new eating regime and exercise regimen.
And something to do with water …spa.
They have everything it seems
“Well, we ARE a centre of well-being,” comes the reply and I link back to earlier quests.
I wonder; ”is there any special treatment just for the addiction like a step program or something?”
“We can’t do a step program. Human beings are so delicate and deep and sensitive, so in need of good experience. They are such incredible creatures; multi-faceted and complex emotionally. You cannot just apply any one solution.”
I ask the guy about his job.
“My job is to front the people who come here and help them make choices about the way forward.”
And about me?
“You are obviously suffering from the effects of happiness addiction - you can’t buy your way out. “
I go into borrowed genius mode. Looking through his eyes I see it is a clinic; they have everything- fitness and personal trainers.
I see the possibility for a doctor’s consultation.
Leaving the borrowed genius I ask for an appointment. A doctor is available immediately. I enter the examination room lie on the examination table. He connects a machine up to me to measure stress levels. Alpha and beta wave patterns can show extreme signs of stress, which appear when the body goes too far into addiction and stays outside the comfort zone.
Borrowing his genius I see the comfort zone concept includes all the factors mentioned before, your home, food exercise, relationships, work, etc. There is a zone to get into. When you get too far out of the zone it gets you showing effects.
“You are showing effects,” he says.
“You have to get yourself back into the zone. Life planning is one way, an exercise regime is part of that. Life planning is to get you into the zone. It’s about the addiction. When you get outside the zone it is as if you are stuck outside the fence and cannot get back in.”
I see posters on the wall explaining how it works. Addiction is in fact the result of a natural reaction that some how goes too far .. or you go “outside the zone”. You should be bounced back into the zone when you come to the edge. It’s natural you bounce back into the comfort zone. Humans are steered by the need for strong experience and feelings. But if you get outside the zone you can get stuck outside and can’t get back. You have to pull yourself back consciously. You have to learn to pull yourself back. And it needs a lot of effort.
The life planning exercises help you identify the boundaries of the comfort zones to create comfort.
I see that comfort zones are not really about comfort as we might see it. These zones are about remaining within levels of stress. Maybe I need another term for it.
If you are in the comfort zone you will still feel a thirst inside to be really happy. The need to be really happy is there and it is a good need as it will guide you onto your next steps of development. You should feel it. But not let it force you outside the zone.
If you are in the comfort zone you can take the next step. If your life is always outside the comfort zone you do not have the opportunity as long as you are being knocked around like a ping pong ball in the wrong place.
Their suggestion is to go on a life planning course, organize one and come back.
As I take my leave he tells me to work on my weight.
I say goodbye to the man on the desk. And thank him for his help.
I take the brochure for life planning. I’ll come back and go on a course.
A weekend full of treatment and exercises to get you going.
End Tapescript one Journey to the cure.
Alpha and Beta waves probably referred to EEG waves. According to the Web, Alpha are more like relaxed. Aware and creative waves, Beta are associated with doing things. A stressed person shows reduction in Alpha waves.
Alcoholics have successfully been treated with biofeedback where they learned to increase their Alpha waves, so the link between stress and addiction and brain waves seems viable.
An article in Newsweek talks about the latest research. Addicts shown pictures of people, for example taking cocaine show stimulation of the frontal parts of the brain. This stimulation is not demonstrated when they look at people in other activities. The theory is then that addiction is partly at least a kind of learnt reflex. Where the mind anticipates pleasure.
Other experiments point to how alcoholics who were given a new drug to suppress this reaction in the brain stopped their addiction, even being able to drink moderately – something no other treatment has been able to demonstrate.
Perhaps the most surprising result was that the alcoholics also starting eating less and stopped smoking. So maybe there is a drug to bring the whole of western civilization out of its addictive state.
People talk about mid life crises. Maybe that is when the addiction stops working as you require more and more “hits.”
Someone says that Feng Shui is about the same thing. I’ll look it up.
End of verifications part one for The Cure.