In a fast-paced world where there are more and more distractions, it can become harder and harder to ground ourselves in what is good and healthy. Today we are talking about binge behaviors. Bingeing is the act of consuming an excess amount of something in a short timeframe, it could be food, drugs, social media, apps, games, exercise, alcohol or many other consumables. Anything that can be consumed can become a binge behavior. Whether it consumes our time or we physically consume it. Understanding what bingeing looks like and why we have binge behavior tendencies, can help us take a step toward freeing ourselves from the dependencies that keep us from moving forward in positive ways.
What Does Bingeing Look Like?
When we consider that the definition of binge is doing too much of something in a short period of time, we get a clearer picture of what that may look like. The key words are “too much”. Some people have difficulty measuring when their actions are too much. Binge behavior will look different, depending on what is being consumed. Below are some examples of what that could look like with different consumables.
- Scrolling social media for hours at a time
- Playing a game consistently for hours
- Drinking more alcohol than is safe in short time frames
- Exercising for greater than 2 hours in a time period
- Eating large portions of food quickly
- Watching a season of a TV show
Bingeing behavior often comes with overpowering thoughts. Thoughts that lead you to believe you have to do the bingeing. The need or desire is more powerful than any other thought or responsibility. You often find yourself partaking in an activity for hours a day, regardless if responsibilities are getting done or not. You may feel unable to stop the activity and often there is a false sense of relief that comes. That relief is often followed by a wave of guilt or disgust. Some binge behaviors can lead to other binge behaviors. Determining if you have behaviors that could be bingeing is important for your mental health as well as your physical health.
Why Do I Binge?
If you are still reading, maybe there is a behavior that you have recognized in yourself or someone you love. Honesty and owning the behavior is necessary to change it. Bingeing behaviors can come about differently for different people, but there are a few common factors that seem to be present in people who binge. Many people who have binge behaviors actually use that as a coping mechanism for a portion of their life or circumstances that feel out of control. Below are some other common factors that could lead to binge behavior.
- High stress in your life
- Poor body image
- Low self esteem
- Response to boredom
- Feelings of loss of control
- Unresolved trauma
- Temporary relief from anxiety
Understanding what binge behavior looks like and what causes it is a great first step in determining if you could be affected. Deciding to take a stand for yourself and seek steps of help takes courage. You are not alone in this, more and more people are finding themselves partaking in some sort of binge behavior.
How Can I Stop Bingeing?
There are several ways to have binge behavior, as we have talked about today, however, taking control of them can look similar. There are key steps that we can take that may help us decrease the time spent bingeing and increase our productive time. Below are some steps that could help you become more aware of how your time is spent and decrease the time we spend on non-effective behaviors.
- Plan out your day, giving a time frame to each activity
- Place a quantity on the amount you will consume
- Seek a trusted friend to be an accountability partner
- Put healthy time frames in place for TV or social media
- Remove the temptation from your home/device/computer
Taking control of addictive behaviors can be hard. It takes time. Give yourself grace, but keep yourself honest. Confide in a trusted friend, your true progress and celebrate each step. Overcoming behaviors can take time and will most likely not be overnight. Document your successes so you can look back on them during the hard days. Celebrate what you are able to do in the times you would have been bingeing. If you have tried taking steps to gain your time and life back, but you are struggling, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here for you. Our counselors are trained to help you discover your next step.