Breaking Bad Habits
The problem habit is a solution
Habits are established through repetition of a behaviour. Initially we consciously choose to repeat a behaviour because it has a perceived benefit, in other words it provides a solution to an immediate problem. For example the behaviour might help us fit in, or comfort us in some way, or perhaps alleviate boredom – there are many different reasons why that behaviour might have started. Once the habit is formed, our brain might decide that the behaviour is an effective solution to other ‘problems’ and we’ll subconsciously continue to do the habit for a number of reasons. This is a process known as ‘generalisation’ and is the reason why might continue to do the habit once the original reason is no longer an issue.
Finding new strategies
Changing our habits is something that we do naturally throughout life For example when you were a baby you likely learned how to crawl and quite happily got around on your knees At some point you became aware that others could walk and were able to get from one place to another much faster, perhaps your siblings beat you to that toy every time. You then began to push yourself up using the furniture, and practised taking steps. Eventually your brain learned to co-ordinate the movement and walking became second nature to you. Once the habit of walking had been formed you realised it was way more effective than crawling. You still know how to crawl – that habit is still there, however walking is so much more effective that you choose to walk instead. When you know at a deep level that you have a more effective strategy than that old problem behaviour you will find it easy to behave in the new way.
Finding the triggers
Have you tried to stop doing your habit only to find yourself slip straight back into it? It might feel as though you;re on a hamster wheel that you can’t get off. Our brains will associate the behaviour with certain events which when encountered trigger the habitual behaviour. These events could be activities we do, people we see, places we go to, or times of the day. This programming enables us to be more effective so we don’t have to relearn how to things all over again every time. Knowing what the triggers are allows us to predetermine a different course of action and be more vigilant.
Dealing with cravings and compulsions
If your serious about overcoming an ingrained habit then you’re going to need to know how to easily manage any cravings or compulsions that you might experience. As we all respond better to different methods I will show you a number of different strategies, each of which is simple to learn, highly effective, and at least as quick to do as the unwanted behaviour. When you use these techniques you will have no need to endure any cravings and compulsions as you withdraw from the old habit.
Behind some addictive patterns of behaviour there are underlying emotional traumas. Often we carry emotional baggage from our past and use destructive behaviours to distract ourselves or make ourselves feel better. I will help you resolve those traumas so that they no longer cause you upset, anger, distress or any other negative emotion.