6 Amazing Addictions That Are Actually Healthy

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For most people, the term "addiction" denotes something terrible or harmful such as drugs, alcohol, smoking or even food addiction. In fact, the actually definition of the word can be perceived as negative; "being dependent on a particular substance, thing or activity."

But there are habits that are considered "positive addictions", a phrased first coined by William Glasser in a book with the same name. Glasser believes that positive addictions "strengthen us and make our lives more satisfying."

So who wouldn't want a positive addiction?! Listed below are six sensational and healthy habits that can bring added value and happiness to our everyday existence.

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1. Yoga

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Yoga is touted as "doing good for the soul as well as the body".  This ancient art delivers countless benefits and involves much more than people attempting to relax in seemingly impossible poses.

Yoga devotees (referred to as Yogis) firmly declare that engaging in yoga heightens their energy while calming their mind, improving flexibility, muscle strength and tone. Actresses Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow religiously engage in yoga sessions.  Even music legend Rod Stewart admits he turned to yoga to discover a sense of serenity after his very public breakup with Rachel Hunter.

This spiritual discipline involves quiet poses and deep breathing. The goal of yoga is to "live your life in the present" and to bring serenity to the body and mind.

Whether it is a You Tube video, a class at the gym or acting on your own, the health advantages of yoga are unmatched in creating inner tranquility.

Anyone at any age in any physical condition can participate in yoga. Yes, even you can partake in yoga and appreciate the advantages of this healthy obsession.

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2. Meditation

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From basketball's most valuable player LeBron James to rock star Madonna, several celebrities and everyday folks consider themselves addicted to the calm, peaceful and tranquil pursuit of meditation.

In today's chaotic, fast-paced, intense information oriented world, any action that decreases stress, tension-related pain, insomnia and other health concerns is truly a welcome addition to a daily regime.

Welcome to meditation.

Countless studies show meditation quiets the mind allowing for enhanced focus, mental clarity. It may provide a surge in happiness if done regularly. No wonder athletes and successful professionals all enjoy the mantra "OM."

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3. Exercise

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Some people love the solitude of paddle boarding, hiking or running along the beach.

Others stay motivated with structured indoor cycling classes or dance lessons.

Team sports like a bowling groups or a softball league attracts those who desire constant social interaction.

One of the key reasons physical activity becomes addictive is actually due to a chemical reaction in the brain.

During exercise, your neurons fire faster, stimulating your brain to create and release higher levels of serotonin. (Serotonin is an essential neurotransmitter, a chemical naturally produced by the body that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another including mood, memory, appetite, sleep and more). The more you exercise, the more your brain wants to relive this type of "runner's high."

The benefits of a healthy addiction to exercise cannot be overstated (notice we said "healthy addiction" which means exercise does not take precedence over family, social events or work).

Everyone has some type of passion for exercise. Isn't it time to get off the couch and experience the delight of moving your body?

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4. Going Green

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A more recent addiction is the trend toward "living green" with a "minimal carbon footprint."

This new desire to protect the earth is not just a "tree-hugger," hippie style movement. It has existed for decades. 

Even thirty years ago, television and film star Ed Begley, Jr. was one of the first famous faces of this environmentally conscious group.  Ed is a predominant ecofriendly leader in the Hollywood community for many years, even riding his bike to the Academy Awards.

"Going Green" is a healthy, popular and emerging worldwide trend that benefits people, animals and our entire planet. Recycling bins are now a common site, plastic bags have been banned in several major cities, air quality standards are more commonplace and those addictive to a healthier world are committed to reducing their carbon footprint.

What the heck is a carbon footprint, you ask? Your carbon footprint measures the impact your use of resources has on the world's climate. Carbon dioxide is believed to be one of the most serious greenhouse gases causing global warming. Driving a car, using electricity and gas, even what we eat affects the earth's future. If you are curious about your own carbon footprint, The Nature Conservancy offers a tool to calculate your footprint.

Environmental addicts are committed to passing legislation that defends our world against deterioration.  The celebration of Earth Day every April brings these passionate individuals together to educate and discuss the healthy survival of the earth.

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5. Volunteering

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In this wacky world, it seems like there is never enough time for anything outside work and family.  Yet, there are altruistic individuals who somehow find time each week to donate themselves to help others who may be less fortunate.  Food banks, cancer centers and after-school programs are just a few charitable organizations desperate for hands-on help.

When you talk to these unpaid helpers, they insist that they benefit more from volunteering than the people receiving the help.  They may be right!  A recent study found that adults who volunteered their time to a charitable cause had "greater increases in psychological well-being." And a study in London determined that helping others kindles happiness...they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were.

Helping others actually helps you! Say "hello" to a very positive addiction.

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6. Travel

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Do you know someone who spends hours perusing travel websites and would happily live their life out of a suitcase?  If so, then you probably know someone who has a travel addiction. This isn't necessarily a negative fixation, as long as it doesn't adversely affect their bank account or social connections.

People hooked on travel find great joy in navigating unfamiliar locations, they treasure the first-hand opportunity of learning about other cultures, experiencing historic sites in person and savoring new food delicacies.

For many, their travel addiction enhances their compassion for others and creates gratitude for their lives when they return home.

We would all do better to understand the world around us.

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