It’s hard telling someone you love, or even just like, that the thing they are doing is harming themselves. We tend to back off and hope they’ll come to their senses so we overlook that drunken, out of control evening or that illegal high at a festival or that extra bar of chocolate for comfort when stressed. We balance our desire to give  them advice with giving them enough rope to hang themselves and suppose that the need for a normal life will outweigh the immediate buzz of intoxication, eventually. We parent or befriend  in explosions of concern, rather than incremental drips of advice.

Advice to the person struggling to give up an addiction generally breaks down into 5 basic components of mental health.

Encourage the person to connect with the people around them whether that is their family, friends, colleagues, neighbours or wider community.

Exercise for releasing endorphins is another well known strategy for improving mood even if that is just walking in the fresh air. Playing a game, swimming or going to the gym are even better because it is something that is very different to the normal routine.

The person should learn something new every day – a new fact of the day from Wiki or Reddit, or try reading a new book of fact or fiction, learning a new skill like cookery or a new language to fill up those hours of temptation.

Getting involved in a project or “good cause” can raise self esteem because the difference we make to the lives of others is a tangible improvement on the old habits that they are trying to overcome.

Living in the moment and enjoying those moments of freedom from the habit trying to be broken is essential. Encourage awareness of the trees, air, water, plants etc. Try looking at things with a child’s eyes.

Help them to skip with joy, laugh their way to health.

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