If we let ourselves become depleted, we’re at risk for indulging in what we crave
dvancement is the name of the game. We’re always looking for the next best thing and, when it comes to doughnuts, it seems we’ve found it! Forget those little sugar-dusted sufganiyot. Now we’re into the triple-layered-salted-caramel-whipped-soufflé-nut — and we’re lovin’ it! More is better, right?
Often, yes. Our central heating and air-conditioning are improvements over the bad old days, and so many of the practical, greater-ease-and-comfort and even just-for-fun inventions we’ve been blessed with really do make things so much better.
Yet, we must proceed with caution.
“I’ve always loved shopping, but it’s gotten out of control. When my husband saw the last credit card bill, he blew up, and I can’t blame him. I’m way over budget. I just can’t seem to stop myself. When I see something I want, I just have to get it!”
Diving into Excess
Shopping online is a way to get a nice chemical hit. Looking for items, putting them in a cart, ordering them, and waiting for their arrival, anticipating enjoying the product — each step of the way is rewarding to human physiology.
There are many other ways to give ourselves a chemical lift: nibbling at chocolate, shopping for treats and setting them aside for later, playing games on devices, socializing, daydreaming, and a million other activities.
A little break and a little reward to the system is not only harmless, it’s actually beneficial. We need to balance our energies throughout each day, juggling responsibilities and “have-to’s” with little enjoyable “like-to’s.” Failure to do this can result in depression and illness.
But we often do this more than is good for us.
“My morning job is taxing, and then I rush home to pick up the little kids. It’s a whirlwind of activity: shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, car pools, serving dinner, supervising homework, giving baths. I don’t sit down for a minute. Finally, when everyone is in bed or settled, I like to sit down with a novel for a few minutes. I’ve still got laundry to fold at that point and lunches to make, but I always promise myself to get up and start working on that ‘in just a few minutes.’ The problem is that hours can go by while I bury myself in my book, and by the time I get up to finish my evening’s work it may be long past midnight. The baby will wake at 5:30 a.m. regardless of my schedule, so I end up a walking disaster most of the day. And because I’m so wiped, I just do it all again the next night. I know it’s crazy, but I can’t break the cycle!
Just one more. Just one more time. Just a little more. Just a little longer. These are the battle cries of the yetzer hara. It takes a good thing like a small treat or a short break and twists it into trouble. We become insatiable. And it costs us.
The yetzer hara thrives on our passionate energies, including the mix of chemicals produced by anger, fear, and pleasure. When our energy stores are low, the yetzer hara swoops in to restore them. That’s when we’ll begin to overindulge in all sorts of pleasure-producing, stress-reducing activities.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 673)