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How to break your bad habits

How to break your bad habits

Bad habits waste your energy and time. They disrupt your life, risk your health and stop you from achieving your aims. So why do we do them? And what can we do to break our bad habits?

The causes of bad habits

Most bad habits are triggered by just two things: boredom and stress. A wide range of bad habits, from drinking too much to spending too much time gaming or wasting hours on Facebook, is often a response to boredom or stress.

Sometimes stress can be caused by an underlying fear or belief that you will need to address before making changes. Although it can be difficult, you need to be honest with yourself if you're serious about warning to overcome bad habits.

Once you have recognised the triggers for your bad habits, you can learn new, healthier behaviours as an alternative way of coping with boredom or anxiety.

All your behaviours, both good and bad, are there for a reason and benefit you in some ways, although they might be harmful to you in others. Because a bad habit provides you with some kind of benefit, it's not easy to just stop doing it. The secret is not to eliminate harmful behaviour but to replace it with something healthier.

The benefit of a bad habit may be biological, such as with alcohol or drug dependency or smoking. It may be emotional, for example, when you stay in an unhealthy relationship. It may be physical and a way of coping with too much stress, such as when you pull your hair, bite your nails or grind your teeth.

These reasons also apply to less severe habits. For example, do you find yourself checking your social media feed as soon as you turn on your laptop? This habit wastes time, slows up your productivity and often leads to increased stress. But at the same time, it helps you feel connected, and so you keep on doing it.

So it's tough to "just stop". Instead, you have to replace your bad habit with a new, healthier behaviour that offers a similar benefit.

Tips for breaking a bad habit

Let's look at the process of breaking bad habits differently. Here are a few tips to try:

• Pick a new behaviour to substitute for your bad habit

Make a plan about what you're going to do when you're bored or stressed. Whatever your bad habit, you need to know what you're going to replace it with. What will you do when you get a craving to pop out for a ciggie or raid the biscuit tin? What can you do to avoid the first drink of the evening (tip: try a relaxing bath or go for a walk instead). What will you do instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed? (tip: write a couple of sentences for work instead)

• Suppress your cravings with Bach Flower Mixes

Bach Flower Mixes support you when you're trying to break bad habits. They are formulated with pure flower essences to help suppress cravings and reduce stress and anxiety. Bach Flower Mix 58 is an ideal supplement when you're quitting smoking while Bach Flower Mix 62 supports people who are addressing their relationship with alcohol.

• Avoid as many triggers as you can

If you're trying to quit smoking, then don't hang out with friends who smoke. If you can't resist nibbling on cookies, don't keep any in the house. If you have identified a trigger such as stress for your bad habit, try to find other ways to relax.

• Find a buddy and join forces

Maybe you've tried to lose weight but not told anyone about it? You might think then it won't be so embarrassing when you give up on your diet. But you're more likely to succeed if you pair up with a friend - you can keep tabs on and support each other. And knowing that another person expects you to achieve your goal will help to keep you on track.

• Visualise your success

Visualise yourself shopping for healthier food, choosing new clothes, or throwing away your cigarettes. You are mentally building a new identity for yourself: whatever behaviour you aim to quit, imagine yourself beating it and savouring the win.

• Go back to the real you

You haven't always had bad habits, so you don't need to transform yourself into a new person. You just need to go back to the person you once were. You don't need to give up smoking; you just need to go back to being someone who doesn't smoke. Don't think of yourself as giving up alcohol, visualise returning to being a non-drinker. Even if it was a long time ago, you know you can live without these bad habits because you've done it before.

• Overcome negative thoughts

When you're trying to break bad habits, it's all too easy to judge yourself for any minor slip up and feel that you'll never succeed. Try using the word "but" instead:

  • I'm overweight today, but I'll be in shape in time for my holidays.
  • I bit my nails today, but I'll try again and treat myself to a manicure next month.

Everyone slips up sometimes. Instead of beating yourself up for failing and giving up on your goal, be kind to yourself. You'll soon be living a better, healthier life: the secret to success is getting back on track and persevering.


Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/take-steps-now-to-stop-smoking/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201108/5-steps-breaking-bad-habits

Created by Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

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How to break your bad habits

How to break your bad habits
How to break your bad habits

Bad habits waste your energy and time. They disrupt your life, risk your health and stop you from achieving your aims. So why do we do them? And what can we do to break our bad habits?

The causes of bad habits

Most bad habits are triggered by just two things: boredom and stress. A wide range of bad habits, from drinking too much to spending too much time gaming or wasting hours on Facebook, is often a response to boredom or stress.

Sometimes stress can be caused by an underlying fear or belief that you will need to address before making changes. Although it can be difficult, you need to be honest with yourself if you're serious about warning to overcome bad habits.

Once you have recognised the triggers for your bad habits, you can learn new, healthier behaviours as an alternative way of coping with boredom or anxiety.

All your behaviours, both good and bad, are there for a reason and benefit you in some ways, although they might be harmful to you in others. Because a bad habit provides you with some kind of benefit, it's not easy to just stop doing it. The secret is not to eliminate harmful behaviour but to replace it with something healthier.

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The benefit of a bad habit may be biological, such as with alcohol or drug dependency or smoking. It may be emotional, for example, when you stay in an unhealthy relationship. It may be physical and a way of coping with too much stress, such as when you pull your hair, bite your nails or grind your teeth.

These reasons also apply to less severe habits. For example, do you find yourself checking your social media feed as soon as you turn on your laptop? This habit wastes time, slows up your productivity and often leads to increased stress. But at the same time, it helps you feel connected, and so you keep on doing it.

So it's tough to "just stop". Instead, you have to replace your bad habit with a new, healthier behaviour that offers a similar benefit.

Tips for breaking a bad habit

Let's look at the process of breaking bad habits differently. Here are a few tips to try:

• Pick a new behaviour to substitute for your bad habit

Make a plan about what you're going to do when you're bored or stressed. Whatever your bad habit, you need to know what you're going to replace it with. What will you do when you get a craving to pop out for a ciggie or raid the biscuit tin? What can you do to avoid the first drink of the evening (tip: try a relaxing bath or go for a walk instead). What will you do instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed? (tip: write a couple of sentences for work instead)

• Suppress your cravings with Bach Flower Mixes

Bach Flower Mixes support you when you're trying to break bad habits. They are formulated with pure flower essences to help suppress cravings and reduce stress and anxiety. Bach Flower Mix 58 is an ideal supplement when you're quitting smoking while Bach Flower Mix 62 supports people who are addressing their relationship with alcohol.

• Avoid as many triggers as you can

If you're trying to quit smoking, then don't hang out with friends who smoke. If you can't resist nibbling on cookies, don't keep any in the house. If you have identified a trigger such as stress for your bad habit, try to find other ways to relax.

• Find a buddy and join forces

Maybe you've tried to lose weight but not told anyone about it? You might think then it won't be so embarrassing when you give up on your diet. But you're more likely to succeed if you pair up with a friend - you can keep tabs on and support each other. And knowing that another person expects you to achieve your goal will help to keep you on track.

• Visualise your success

Visualise yourself shopping for healthier food, choosing new clothes, or throwing away your cigarettes. You are mentally building a new identity for yourself: whatever behaviour you aim to quit, imagine yourself beating it and savouring the win.

• Go back to the real you

You haven't always had bad habits, so you don't need to transform yourself into a new person. You just need to go back to the person you once were. You don't need to give up smoking; you just need to go back to being someone who doesn't smoke. Don't think of yourself as giving up alcohol, visualise returning to being a non-drinker. Even if it was a long time ago, you know you can live without these bad habits because you've done it before.

• Overcome negative thoughts

When you're trying to break bad habits, it's all too easy to judge yourself for any minor slip up and feel that you'll never succeed. Try using the word "but" instead:

  • I'm overweight today, but I'll be in shape in time for my holidays.
  • I bit my nails today, but I'll try again and treat myself to a manicure next month.

Everyone slips up sometimes. Instead of beating yourself up for failing and giving up on your goal, be kind to yourself. You'll soon be living a better, healthier life: the secret to success is getting back on track and persevering.


Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/take-steps-now-to-stop-smoking/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201108/5-steps-breaking-bad-habits


Marie Pure

Other articles


How to spice up your life

How to spice up your life

Do you feel you're always doing the same things and not getting anywhere? It's common to feel stuck in a rut, treading water and just going through the motions.

Read the complete article

How to spot toxic behaviour

How to spot toxic behaviour

You see the word "toxic" everywhere these days, but what does it really mean? You've almost certainly come across someone who fits the description. Dealing with difficult personalities can be challenging and emotionally exhausting, to say the least.

Read the complete article

How to know when to say no

How to know when to say no

It's often difficult to say no, but some people never do! So how do you know when to say no and when to say yes?

Read the complete article

Do you expect too much from others Find out!

Do you expect too much from others? Find out!

Most people are disappointed when others don't meet their expectations. But when you always expect too much, it isn't healthy, either for yourself or for others. If you often find yourself feeling let down by your loved ones or even by strangers, could it be that you have unrealistic ideas of how people should act?

Read the complete article

How to beat irrational anxieties

How to beat irrational anxieties

Irrational anxieties can seem overwhelming, affecting every aspect of your life. Learn how to beat your fears and worries and take back control.

Read the complete article

fear of fireworks dogs

7 tips to help your dog with a fear of fireworks

As nice as it is for a person to celebrate New Year, it's not so nice for a dog, especially when the loud fireworks go off the whole night. This is really frightening for many dogs. Read our 7 tips on how you can help your dog with his fear of fireworks.

Read the complete article

How can I help my child achieve their dreams

How can I help my child achieve their dreams?

Children's imaginations know no limits and their dreams are a mix of hopes and fantasies, the real and the magical, the impossible and the achievable.

Read the complete article

Why not me

Why not me?

It's natural to compare our own lives with those of others - weighing up the pros and cons of situations helps us make decisions. But there can be a downside when you find you're constantly comparing yourself with others, envying their seemingly perfect lives and wondering why they are luckier, more prosperous, and better looking than you.

Read the complete article

Choose for your happiness

Choose for your happiness!

Being happy is something everybody strives for, but unfortunately there are a lot of people who go through life unhappily. A lot of people take life how it is.

Read the complete article

goede-voornemens

A new year, a new me

It’s such a positive thing to do and hope springs eternal, so why not commit yourself to a change this year? Here’s our tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolutions.

Read the complete article

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