13 Signs You're Addicted To Self-Help (And Your Positive Thinking Is Starting To Suffer)

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addicted to self help
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Too much of a good thing can seriously hinder you.

If there’s one genre of reading I’ve learned to adore, it’s self-help books. This is a genre of books that can seriously help you get your life in order and also give you a new perspective on major life issues that you might be facing. Self-help books have saved my life and are a reason I love to write.

However, I’ll be the first one to say that there are self-help books that are little more than nice-sounding rhetoric and that there is definitely such a thing as self-help addiction. It’s a rabbit hole that starts out innocuous, but can quickly become a nightmare of its own.


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Having been there, I can tell you when your love of self-help media might be spiraling out of control, and it can start to feel a lot like you're addicted.

1. You read the books, but never really put any of it to action.

If you’re reading those books and not putting any of their teachings into practice, you’re not really gaining anything from them, even if you think they are. People who are addicted to self-help often will pick up tons of books and read them, just because they feel like they’re making some superficial progress toward a goal they’re too scared to pursue.

2. Every time something happens in your life, you end up using self-help as a crutch.

Most of the time, quantity is where the telltale sign is at. A little self-help guidance can be a good thing, but if you’re turning to your buddy Deepak Chopra every single time something even remotely goes sideways, you may have a problem.

3. People have often told you that the self-help practices you’re using are making you a bit delusional.

Sorry to say this, but it’s true. There’s only so far that blind optimism, positive visualization, and the law of attraction will go. If this wasn’t true, then life would be fair — and it’s not.

If people have started to comment that your attitude is getting alarmingly delusional or “cult-like,” it may be time to put the self-help books down.

4. You’ve started to get so into self-help programs that it’s affected your social life or employment.

Generally speaking, any time a new practice starts to impact your social life or work life, it’s likely an addiction. Addictions disconnect you from the outside world, and if you’re addicted to self-help, you might find yourself isolating yourself from anyone not devoted to your particular brand of self-help.

5. You remain dissatisfied and restless, even though most people would tell you that you’re doing well.

Yes, you can always be more fit, more successful, and more attractive, but if you’re not happy, what good is it? Self-help tends to make us feel inadequate, even when we should actually be proud of our work.

6. Self-help has occasionally convinced you to go against medical advice.

If this ever rings true for you, stop consuming the self-help you’re using immediately. There are many fraudsters out there who look to desperate people and will tell them bad advice, just to get a quick buck.

If you find yourself going against medical orders because some self-help guru told you to, it’s safe to say you’re being victimized — and you may be addicted, too.

7. If you haven’t read self-help books in a while, you lose motivation or get antsy.

All those pep talks self-help can offer can be addictive. Are you finding yourself jonesing for your next “hit” of being told uplifting things? If so, congrats. You’re acting like an addict.


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8. Heck, you can’t even start your day without self-help.

This is a bad sign. If you can’t motivate yourself, the self-help you’re using is most likely hurting rather than helping.

9. You’re constantly looking for a simple solution to all of life’s problems in the form of a book.

Sorry, life doesn’t have simple solutions. Self-help can only go so far and can only do so much when it comes to teaching certain skills.

Constantly looking for “the answer” to your tough situations may be a good sign that an addiction has taken root, since it means that you’re literally flitting from program to program searching for completion that’ll never come.

10. You believe that self-help gurus have all the answers to life.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn’t true and it isn’t even healthy thinking. Self-help gurus are still people, and while they can offer good advice or a new way of thinking, they are not God. They still will mess up from time to time, and there will be moments where they just can’t be of help.

11. When friends tell you their problems, you immediately believe you know what they should do.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m guilty of this sometimes. It’s a natural by-product of consuming to much self-help literature, primarily because you read so much on it that you assume you have all the answers.

12. When you read self-help, you get angrier rather than happy.

Do you find yourself picking yourself apart when you read self-help? It’s probably not helping you out.

13. If you were honest with yourself, you know you use self-help to run away from your problems.

Well, I've got some good news for you. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem...


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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.

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