A habit is routine or doing something and in a particular way that is repeated frequently and even becomes second nature such that it can be done subconsciously. The person doing it may even fail to notice it as you don’t have to engage the analyzing part of your brain to do it.
As human beings we are creatures of habit due to our evolution which was more about survival. As we have continued to evolve, the neural pathways have remained and thus pick up easily on how we do things. This is what is referred to as basic nervous system, positive and negative reinforcement.
Forming a habit
Once you do something that your body deems to be rewarding, something happens in the brain. Your system will note the change in chemicals and will make a subconscious note about it. Once you repeat it, then a neural pathway begins to form on how you came across the activity, how where you found it and how to do it. This way a habit is already forming. Next will be the trigger phase where you will be experience a flashback to the activity once you encounter a specific stimulus. Say a certain signage reminds you of the chocolate cake you had the last weekend and you start to feel like having the cake again.
This trigger may happen without he individual even noticing, but the urge. Soon one finds his or herself going back to doing it when feeling bad or low, with the reward being feeling better.
Now, a habit can be good or bad depending on the overall impact it has physically, mentally, emotionally and even socially. Cigarette smoking, for example, will have bad impact on your health and so it can be safely put as a harmful habit. Jogging on the other hand has a good effect on your physical and mental wellbeing and so can be categorized a good habit.
Breaking a bad habit
To break or change a habit, one has to first decide and make a resolution to do it. Having decided to, the following techniques will be handy.
Becoming mindful, becoming more and more interested in what is going on at that particular moment we are engaged in the activity. This means that analyzing how your body responds to the particular stimulus. Maybe the heart races and pulse quicken, breathing becomes rapid; maybe it has a lot of financial uptake.
Don’t be isolated. Make happy and meaningful connections. Research shows that most addicts continue on a self-destructive path due to lacking connections they value in their personal and even professional lives. Once one has a meaningful working relationship going, it will be easier to be engaged and putting themselves out there.
Find something to keep you occupied
Find something else to keep you occupied to avoid the temptation to go back to your bad habit. You can make Bird Rock Baby shoes or start sewing.
The goal is to pick up a new hobby that utilizes your time better. Challenging yourself to undertake a new venture be it physically or learning a new skill is always rewarding mentally as it takes the mind off the habit you are trying to kick.