That’s a bizarre question, isn’t it? Are you addicted to your acne? But it’s definitely worth exploring, so please stay with me on this one.
I definitely used to be addicted to my acne. It used to consume much of my focus. My skin was the first thing I thought of when I woke up, it was the last thing I thought of before I went to bed, and there was little relief in between. Like an addiction, it felt like it was beyond my control. I didn’t like thinking about it all the time, I didn’t want to, but it felt like I had no other choice.
I’m guessing that may sound familiar. When your face is full of acne, healing your skin is often a top priority in your mind, right? But what makes that an addiction?
To understand this point, let’s talk about the power of habit, and what our habits turn into.
Think about how much time, effort, and energy you put into your acne. You’re constantly trying to treat it, or worrying about it, or covering it up, or checking to see if it’s better or worse. If you spend that much time thinking about something, it becomes a part of you. Part of your personality gets tied up in that struggle. Whether you like it or not, dealing with your acne begins to define you. It certainly defined me.
10 years ago, if I had to write the world’s most honest bio, it would have read:
“My name is Brianne. I’m an aspiring actress and the things I do most are research acne and worry about acne.”
Was I more than that? Sure. But if how we spend our energy is a good indicator of the type of person we are, then I was mostly someone who was obsessed with my acne. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was the power of my habits.
See, if you do anything over and over and over, you get better at it and it becomes familiar. Even if it’s not healthy, familiar is comfortable to our unconscious minds. It’s why we form habits in the first place. Repetitive thoughts and actions eventually get put on autopilot because it takes less brain power. When that happens, they are no longer conscious choices. Once those thoughts and actions are on autopilot, taking them off and gaining conscious control becomes difficult and uncomfortable for that part of your brain. It doesn’t want to change. Your mind thinks it’s better to keep doing things just as you have been, even if it’s not helpful.
What I was doing over and over and over, was worrying and obsessing over my skin until it was on autopilot, a habit, and something I could no longer stop.
Does that sound like an addiction yet? Doing something that I know isn’t helpful, and not being able to stop… ?
If you have struggled with acne for a long time, worrying about your skin may be an addiction for you as well. Fighting against your acne is part of who you are. Your mind is convinced that this struggle is a part of the story that makes you you, so it’s invested in keeping it that way. Thinking about changing and wanting to change, isn’t going to help much. You have to take action.
That’s the good news. Habits can be broken. Not over night, not without effort, but with awareness and action you can get over your “addiction” to your acne. You can take those thoughts and behaviors off autopilot. Doing so will lead to your skin having less power over how you feel and act each day. In turn, the emotional relief can allow your skin to heal in new ways.
There are many different things you can do to break this habit and addiction. One of the simplest is to plan a distraction. When you find yourself obsessing or worrying or struggling with your skin, ask yourself, what else could I do?
Take the next 5 – 10 minutes and write out all the different things you could do with your time to distract your mind.
Examples: work on a puzzle, take the dog for a walk, call a friend, do the dishes, do homework, organize the closet, do that thing you’ve been meaning to do forever but haven’t gotten to…
The next time you find yourself obsessing, do something from your list instead. What this does is send a message to your autopilot brain that you don’t want to keep doing this. You want to be doing other things. By not allowing yourself to stay in the worried state, eventually the unconscious desire to stay there will fade. It will be easier for you to let go of the obsession over your acne, but more productive, happier, feel more in control.
Just know, you have to make the conscious effort to move past habits of thought. You have to take action. To help get you started, comment below and tell me some of the things you’re going to do to distract yourself. That is the perfect first step.
Keep in mind, this is just one tool. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get past your obsession with your skin, you may want to check out my Feel Better, Heal Better program.
But definitely come up with that list!
Until next time,