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As human beings, one of the truly wonderful things about us is our ability to turn a hobby into an impassioned obsession.
Whether it’s cooking, gardening, working out, or anything else we invest ourselves in, that obsessive drive can be incredibly rewarding.
They allow us to pursue a particular interest further and increase our enjoyment levels along the way.
However, this intense focus can also lead to unhealthy obsessions, which impact both the physical and mental health of those afflicted, with anxiety issues skyrocketing due to overzealous pursuits.
Let’s take a closer look at 14 such hobbies/habits, which could quickly progress from enjoyable pastimes into something much more sinister if left unchecked!
#1. Being Obsessed with Youth
A shared obsession in today’s society is the need to look young. “People are obsessed with youth and some people will do anything to maintain its appearance.”
One person made an excellent point, saying, “the ironic part is that a lot of the things people do to make themselves look younger and better just makes them look worse.”
Another person experiences this phenomenon all the time.
“I live in LA. I work somewhat connected to the entertainment industry. More times than I can enumerate, stunning women (and a number of great looking men) have slowly distorted their faces and figures into oblivion. In the span of 18 months, many are entirely unrecognizable. Literally. I’ve gone to events, bumped into people and I didn’t know who they were until I heard their voice. They start looking like this homogeneous mass of the altered.”
Sometimes when people decide to eat healthy and exercise, their passion turns into an obsession.
They become so set on reaching the ideal bodyweight or physical appearance their eating or exercising habits become unhealthy.
#3. An Obsession With Sports to the Point of Anger, Violence, and Property Damage
People love sports. But some people take their love a little too far by getting angry and even violent.
One person said, “Hey, I love my own teams, but if you are rioting following a victory or loss by your team, then it is time to seek counseling.”
Another person responded, “I’m a self proclaimed fair weather fan. I generally don’t watch sports at all, but if any of my State’s local teams start making a good run, I may get engaged and watch some. It blows my mind that people’s days are ruined when their team loses. Or maybe they punch a wall or destroy some other property. Or even worse, get in a physical fight with some other fan from an opposing team. These people need something more meaningful in their lives. They are getting more upset than the actual members of the team. Pathetic.”
#4. Obsession with Electronics
Some people pointed out an obsession with electronics, specifically phones. One person made the excellent point that it is important to be bored sometimes.
“It’s one thing to keep yourself busy, it’s another to never let yourself be bored. Being bored is important sometimes, it makes you think/helps clear your head. Phones make it ridiculously easy to never let yourself get bored, to the point where it ain’t healthy.”
Another mentioned their realization and responded to another commenter doing the same, “Same here… I go to work, look at a screen. Come home, TV with dinner, then computer gaming, then workout, then TV. Go to the bathroom, wait for the shower water to heat up, not sure what else to do in that moment? Phone. I don’t look at a screen when I’m driving, exercising, or trying to sleep. It’s made me very explicitly give up on anything in life because I’m so sick of feeling stressed and anxious that I’ll accept never doing anything different because I feel it doesn’t change anything for the better and only adds stress. I’m not sure how to change this.”
#5. Social Media Obsession
By far, the obsession with social media was the most popular response given. Being on social media robs you of your wealth, time, and even chances how you look at the world.
One person talked about his experience with someone in the family who had this obsession, “A friend of mine’s mother almost spends every waking hour on Facebook and Instagram. She is constantly updating the world on her life. My friend has had to stop sending her pics of his children because they would immediately end up on her Facebook. She has fallen for a number of scams – thankfully stopped by friend before she lost money. It seems the only source of validation in her life are the upvotes and likes of friends, relatives and strangers.”
Another person added, “Those people’s identities are so wrapped up in their online presence they think that not having one means you have no identity at all. No personality. No connection with friends. No relatability to society. It’s like saying you don’t have a drivers license or birth certificate. You must be hiding something. It’s sad that it’s come to this.”
#6. Workaholism and Productivity
As one person says, “Work/productivity. Everybody needs a break, not just every once in a while, but often.”
Someone else pointed out an observation they made at work. “Almost everyone in my office grabs there lunch and eats at their desk while working. Like you literally get hour and a half breaks if you want what are you doing lol. And no one here does it to leave an hour earlier.”
Another person talked about this in their workplace and why it bothers them so much, “My biggest peeve with people always working through lunch when they don’t have to is that it makes me look lazy for not working through my own lunch despite not being paid for that hour. Why do people do that? Go outside for a walk or something, get away from the computer for a minute while you can!!”
#7. An Obsession with Celebrities
Being obsessed with everything celebrity related is a big red flag for many people. One person has a great take on this topic.
“From what I’ve seen of influencers/streamers they seems to fill a role of friend/friendship to a lot of people who don’t actually have any friends in their normal life. These guys fill in that gap and let you feel like you know them as a people since they’re always posting their life online. Just seems like a new way to have interpersonal social relationships. Granted I never watch mainstream streamers or use Instagram/TikTok so probably a bit different from those type of followers.”
Another person made this observation.
“Inclusive of influencers, streamers, and any other random person with a webcam. We get mad at narcissism but go out of our way to throw money at these folks. Not everybody needs to be a brand. The overwhelming majority of us are just plain, ordinary humans – and that’s ok.”
#8. Obsessions with Each Other’s Lives
Being nosy and sticking your nose in other people’s business rubs many the wrong way. One person said, “Seriously just let people live as long as they’re not hurting anyone just leave people alone.”
Another person added, “I don’t care what or who you are. Just be a decent person and don’t try to meddle with my life and we’ll be cool.”
Someone else said, “live and let live and this world would be a much more peaceful, happy place.”
#9. The 24-Hour News Cycle
While CNN debuted in 1980 as a 24-hour news channel, the obsession over the news didn’t materialize until the mid-1990s and the OJ Simpson trial.
One noted, “It’s good to stay involved and informed but if people would just turn off the news I feel like 90% of our culture war would disappear overnight and we could focus on the real issues.”
Another person chimed in with, “The way the media is set up now a days it’s hard. Denzel said it best. If you don’t read the news you’re uninformed, if you do read the news you’re misinformed. In our society, now it’s just first — who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts. We don’t care who we destroy. We don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you’ll get good at — including BS.”
Another person puts a ribbon on the topic with “24 hour current events opinion cycles. Let’s be real, most modern ‘news’ gives an ounce of data/facts to every pound of opinion. Far too many people watching that stuff don’t want to come to their own conclusions about what happened, they want a headline and to then be told how they should feel about it.
We need to enact a law that all ‘reporting’ should have a constant disclaimer that it’s NOT news, it’s opinion/propaganda. The only time they should be allowed to call it news is if the show/segment is presenting info/facts, and no commentary is allowed. THAT is news, everything else is just trying to frame news through the lens of an agenda.”
#10. Always Being in a Relationship
Do you know someone who is always in a relationship? When one ends, they jump into the next one without any time to spare.
Psychologists call these people serial monogamists. These relationships could be short or long-term but usually err on the shorter side.
One person calls these pointless relationships. “Settling for less just because you think you can’t be alone is not healthy.”
Another person added, “It’s just a waste of everyone’s time. Yours and your partners included. They may not see anything wrong (or are delusional) and break up out of left field. And everyone will feel cheated out of their time.”
#11. Trying to Beat Everyone at Everything
This shows up in many areas of life, but one person noted that they often see it when driving.
“People with the ‘I need to be first, I’m in a rush because my life is more important’ while driving bugs me so much, particularly when you end up pulling back up with them because they hit the same red light or stop sign, etc. I’ve literally seen people weave in and out of traffic, gunning it 15 to 20 over whenever they had space to do so, only for me to be right behind them again 30 seconds later. Their efforts made no difference to how fast they were getting where they were going and exponentially more dangerous.”
Another person admitted to this type of behavior.
“I’m guilty of this and trying to make it less of a factor in my life. Driving is the worst, but I even find myself doing it in the grocery store, anywhere there’s a queue. Big realization for me is that it’s not the need to be first or best, but it comes from operating on the assumption that other people are insufficient. It’s an unhealthy worldview, it’s narcissistic, and it can be outright dangerous.”
Another person has the perfect response for these people, “It’s okay if you beat me to the pump, or if you beat me to the grocery checkout line. It’s okay if you get to the freeway exit before me, or pull in front of me on the highway. I’m patient, and it’s a virtue.”
Some religious people can go too far down the well with their beliefs that it begins to cloud their reality and results in them making bad choices in life.
Having faith and a belief in a higher being is perfectly fine, but you need to pay attention when doing so interferes with your daily life.
Shopping is an activity many of us enjoy, especially when it’s combined with a family outing or a day out with friends.
But shopping can become an obsession if you consistently purchase items that are unnecessary and expensive, putting yourself in debt.
To make sure your shopping habit stays healthy, set up a budget for yourself and stick to it!
#14. The Past
When we look back at past experiences, it can be a great way to gain insight and perspective on our current lives.
But for some people, they can dwell too much on the past and become anxious or depressed when reflecting on certain events or relationships.
If you find yourself thinking excessively about your past, practice mindfulness techniques such as meditating or journaling to help process your thoughts more productively.
Also, talk to a mental health professional if needed.
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Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.