Changing Bad Habits Increases Positivity
By Lori English
We all have habits but some of us are aware of them and feel that we cannot change them. Bad habits affect our lives and the way we feel about ourselves as a whole, but new ways of changing them permanently gives us hope for the future.
What is a Bad Habit?
A bad habit can be described as something that you do although you might be aware of it you still continue to engage in it.
If you find yourself repeating the same old habits you want to make changes and ask yourself the question Why? Some people just never ask that question and if you don’t know then engaging in deep thinking or working with someone that can help you answer .
Trying to ignore a bad habit seems impossible sometimes, but recognizing it instead of trying to ignore will lessen the urge.
The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, a journalist and bestselling author who wrote ” The Power Power Of Habit”.
He discusses these three major points to decrease a habit.
- Recognize the cue.
- Reminder is why and when you performed this habit
- Last, is the reward, and the brain remember this part well and if it felt good then obviously you will repeat.
Duhigg explains habits and the difference and how you can change a habit by understanding by recognizing it first.
The reason they are hard to change because we go through most of our day in a routine. Monday is here we get the kids ready for school and pack their lunches.
We have patterns which serve a purpose and you follow them daily which serve a purpose to your daily routine.
If all habits are bad then why are we doing them all day long? Do you think that you can break a bad habit in week or does it take more time?
Think. If you were a smoker for 20 years, it will take time to change the patterns you developed over to decrease the urge to smoke correct?
The brain is the main reward center or pleasure center that is part of the habits that we make. The term reward center is usually discussed when speaking about the brain eg ( addictive drugs) When exposed to a reward stimulus the brain releases a neurotransmitter dopamine.
In the 1950’s, James Olds and Peter Milner implanted electrodes in the brains of rats and allowed the animals to press a lever to receive a mild bust of electrical stimulation. They found that the rat pressed the area known as the septal area which was pressed 7500 times in 12 hours.
According to Olds and Milner’s research experiment because they were able to very the existence of brain structures in the reward areas. Eventually it was recognised that dopamine neurons are activated during this brain stimulation such as a reward.
How to Kick Bad Habits
If you are ready to change the bad habits Recognizing that you have them is the first step to total change.
Keep in mind that it took you time to build these habits up months, and years, so believe that you can change is the first step.
Judson Brewer, M.D. wrote a book titled. ” The Craving Mind From Cigarettes To Smart Phones, “ a New York Best Seller and Brilliant the way he describes the way that we crave .
When we understand how a habit is formed such as smoking or using drugs the understanding what is needed to a more considered choice, says a drug counselor Judson Brewer.
He speaks about the triggers of smoking and how he tried to give it up with candy.
Brewer discusses how the brain is constantly seeking a dopamine fix which is triggered with a habit or an addiction
Dopamine is released into the bloodstream after the habit is performed and if you are addicted to drugs the release of dopamine .
Changing Habits Slowly
The act of changing habits is to know why are you doing these habits? First. If you realize the habits such as smoking and you know it’s not healthy for you, but you still do it.
If you are willing to look at the reasons why you smoke and replacing the thoughts behind this with something positive you can stop.
Looking past the action and the puffing on the cigarette, reducing anxiety by having something to do when uncomfortable.
These are in depth reasons why you smoke, and use substances to cover up your emotions or hide from reality.
Solutions And Replacing
Replacing habits with other positive ones can be helpful . A list Below of Helpful Hints and Strategies.
- Change the environment you were in if possible when you performed these ” Bad” habits in my practice personally I do not use Bad or Good, it can be judgemental, of course you know smoking isn’t good for you.
- Learn Or replace the old behavior with a new one such as many that quit drugs usually become interested in healthy living and eating. They are replacing the habit of using drugs with a good habit working out and eating healthy.
- Learn to recognize ” Triggers” what makes you feel like smoking or using Drugs. These are examples that can be used with addiction, changing overworking, sleep habits, and overeating.
- When you feel an urge to use or repeat the habit take a deep breath, mindfulness breathing and meditation is successful in decreasing anxiety to get over the urge.
- Be around people that are healthy and support you in your quest in stopping a certain behavior. In Narcotics Anonymous they recommend that you stay around people that are clean.
- Know and Be aware of your limitations until you have enough time, and be easy and treat yourself kindly in the process.
- Being patient with yourself and letting yourself go through the changes you need to develop a way of living.
Breaking Habits Successfully
Breaking habits can be difficult in the beginning and it takes a lot of work, but if you are able to recognize and replace the habits that are making your life harder it’s worth it.
Believing in yourself and making changes to your life can affect you , but it also affects your family and the benefits of your children.
Challenging your thoughts and behaviors and asking for help when you need it is important and courageous. Having a therapist, minister, or a life coach is valuable when you are making changes to your life.