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Breaking Bad Habits

Monday, April 25, 2016

Regardless of if you would like to admit it or not, we all have habits. Some habits, like smoking or eating fast food for lunch every day, are more harmful than others. Habits tend to become something that we aren’t necessarily aware of and become routine in our lives. Because of this, it may be harder to realize that we are causing harm to ourselves or others around us or just being annoying. If one of your habits has been brought to your attention, instead of getting upset, take the time to think about it and why it is one that you should break. After you have come to terms with the issue, try following the below steps to break the habit.

Become aware: Is there something that triggers the habit such as stress, an action, or even a location? How many times a day do you find yourself doing it? Ask yourself if you have any specific feelings attached with the action. It may take you really tuning into yourself to be able to answer these questions. But by answering them, you may be able to figure out why you are doing the habit or what triggers it and in turn be able to stop it. 

Replace: Try replacing the habit with something that is not as harmful but still gives you the same feeling or with something that occupies you in its place. For example, if you bite your nails, try chewing gum or putting a bitter serum on your nails that tastes bad to remind you that the action is not okay. If you crack your knuckles, try keeping your hands busy. Stress balls are a great way to give your hands something else to do when you feel the urge coming on. Do research on your habit to see if there are specific tips to help combat it.
Document: If you can’t quite figure out what triggers your habit or why you are doing it, try journaling. Write down dates and times and what was going on when you noticed you were in the act. After a few weeks, look back through your notes and look for any obvious behaviors or signs that may help you hone in on the cause.

Talk to a doctor: If a particular habit is causing you physical harm or hurting your personal relationships, try talking with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. These doctors are trained to help you get to the root of your behavior and can offer you assistance in eliminating the habit once and for all. 

Some habits are harmless and may not cause you any danger or any annoyance to those around you. If you feel this is the case, do not stress about eliminating them unless you feel that you need to. Ask family, friends, and coworkers for assistance in pointing out when you are performing the habit and if it bothers them or they see any negative side effects for you. Remember that we all have habits or routines and that they are nothing to be ashamed of!

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