What is your excess point?

You are woken up by a thumping head, the consistent beat may be the same tempo that you were dancing to on the dance floor last night but it is delivering a completely different experience. You are sick, not the ‘I’m going to sit on the couch and watch a movie’ sick’, it’s more the ‘today the toilet is going to be my best friend’ sick. Every sliver of yourself is in it’s worst place, what seemed like a great idea the night before, to drink well past the point of no return, now seems like a monumentally terrible decision. 

Suddenly your ears are offended by the sound of your phone ringing, with all the effort you can muster you reach for the phone and with a voice that would scare even Hannibal Lector you answer, ‘hello’. One of your partners in crime is ringing to reminisce about the night and to see how you are feeling. Within the first few sentences you say the words those many a hungover person has said with conviction over the years, ‘I’m never drinking again!’.

The situation I have described is one that many of us know well. It’s the night out that went too far, the night that came at a cost which was way beyond the fun that was intended. I’m going to introduce a term here that we can use to describe these times, it’s ‘The Excess Point’.  

In many areas of our lives we have levels that we consider healthy, these can be applied to areas like our diet, our alcohol consumption, or even our procrastination levels. These are levels that we know we like to stay in which we feel keep us in our healthy place. You may determine that you will have a bottle of wine when you go out for dinner with friends which will allow you to loosen up a little bit, have a few laughs and generally enjoy the night out, this is a healthy level for your alcohol consumption. Then there are those times where you go to your excess point, this is a place where you know the toilet bowl is going to be your best friend after a night out. 

Most of us are going to experience times in our lives where we go to our excess point, it might be that one big party or the wedding where you eat too much because the food was delicious. If this is an occasional occurrence for you it’s probably not much of a problem, you may have a sore head or feel a bit bloated but you’ll be back to normal in no time, but what if you are someone who goes to this excess point all the time? 

Your excess point comes at a huge cost to your health. It’s obvious when you are hit by a hangover, it’s your body telling you that it isn’t happy but there are also huge health costs in going to excess in areas like your eating, staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, smoking and overworking which increases your stress levels. We want to try to limit the number of times we go to our excess point, if you are someone who goes to these places often imagine how much better you would feel if you dramatically reduced the times spent in these places? 

If we are going to put some energy into thinking about becoming healthier by reducing your excess points the first step is for you to create awareness around what happens when you are moving towards your excess point. If you know that hanging out with a certain group of friends means that the drinking games are going to be played, which inevitably leads you to your excess point, it would be a wise move to reduce the time spent with those friends when drinking is involved. The more you can develop an understanding of what leads you to your excess points the better you will be able to put strategies in place that keep you away from those places. Overtime you will be spending less time in the unhealthy place which is an obvious win for your mental and physical health. 

The cost of going to your excess point will nearly always outweigh the benefit you get from going there. Develop your understanding of how to avoid these times or at least reduce them to a minimal level and you will be functioning at a higher level more often in your life. Probably a place that you enjoy a whole lot more than when you are sitting next to that toilet. 


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Bevan Eyles