Do you have a bad habit that you are struggling to get rid of?
Do not feel bad about it. Having bad habits is a natural part of being human! Humans are creatures of habit, so it should no surprise that some of your habits are unwelcome. Fortunately, you can change your habits, even if you have been unsuccessful in doing so in the past. Before discussing the three ways to change your habits, it is important to understand why we engage in them.
Bad Habits Have a Pay Off
There was a time when your bad habits served you; they provided you with a benefit. In fact, the only reason why we repeat any behavior is that there is a payoff for us. Because the creation of habits occurs at the subconscious level, we are often unaware of why we engage in them. Our behaviors become habits because we become familiar with them. There is an expectation that we will benefit from them. This is true for bad habits as well.
Many bad habits are formed in childhood
Many bad habits began in childhood. We may have been exposed to them by the modeling of our parents. If a parent becomes irritable when stressed, the child may learn to do the same. Other habits are created by chance. We happen to engage in a behavior and discover that we receive a benefit from it. A common benefit of bad habits is that they temporarily distract us from unpleasant thoughts or emotions.
An example of this is someone who bites their fingernails. Unwelcomed thoughts or emotions cause the person to bite their fingernails. While engaged in this behavior, it redirects their attention and provides some relief.
Bad habits are difficult to break because their root cause lies at the level of the subconscious. For this reason, the most effective way of changing bad habits is to address them at the subconscious level. The following are three ways for changing habits at the subconscious level:
Hypnotherapy is an effective way to change a habit because it works directly at the subconscious level. What is often misunderstood about hypnosis is that it does not create a trance or sleep state. Instead, the hypnotic state is one of heightened awareness, greater emotional control, and extreme relaxation.
Because of this, the root cause that propagates undesirable behavior can be addressed calmly. When guided by a licensed hypnotherapist, hypnosis can yield amazing results in a short period.
Do you remember what it was like when you first learned to tie your shoes or drive a car? Most likely, you were not good at it. Learning to do these things took a lot of concentration and practice. The more that you practiced, the better you became in doing these things. At some point, you did these things so often that you did not even have to think about it; these habits became ingrained in your subconscious.
To change a habit, you need to replace it with a new one and practice it over and over as well. However, practicing the new behavior does not have to happen in real life. You can also practice the new behavior in your mind. Visualizing the new behavior you want to adopt is a great way of creating change at the subconscious level.
It is for this reason that visualization can be considered to be a mental rehearsal.
Practicing visualization is easy. Before we discuss the steps to visualization, it is important to understand that everyone visualizes differently. Some people do not see any images; they just have a knowing of what is happening. When doing this exercise, trust whatever you are experiencing.
- Think of a minor habit that you would like to change. You want to start off small. You can deal with the bigger changes when you become more experienced in using visualization.
- When you have identified the change you want to make, get yourself in a relaxed state. You can meditate or focus on your breathing.
- When you feel relaxed, visualize yourself being in a situation where you want to change your behavior. For example, if you want to feel more confident at work, visualize yourself at work. Make your visualizations as detailed as possible.
- You want to visualize the process of change and not just the outcome. As you visualize yourself at work, see yourself becoming more confident and then actually being confident.
- As you visualize yourself creating the change you want to make, experience the change by using your senses. How do you look when you are being confident? How does it feel to be confident? What do you hear yourself saying when you are confident? Try to incorporate as many of your senses as you can.
- Practice your visualization each day for 5-10 minutes. Also, always end your visualizations on a positive note.
- Apply your visualizations by performing your new habit in the real world. Before applying your visualizations, make a plan. For example, you might tell yourself that you will behave confidently every time you experience doubt at work.
- Keep practicing these steps until your new behavior kicks in without you having to think about it.
3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Regardless of how self-aware we may be, we all had experienced a time when we were challenged by a pattern of behavior or thinking that did not support us in becoming happy. Further, we may be lost as to why we engage in these patterns because they are rooted in the subconscious. EFT tapping is a technique that offers access into the subconscious mind where disempowering patterns of thoughts and behaviors can be reprogrammed.
EFT, also known as tapping, is a technique that is similar to acupuncture but without needles. Instead, EFT involves tapping certain energy meridian points that cause the release of emotional energy. The release of emotional energy stabilizes the body’s energy and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system brings about a relaxation response. When combined with talk therapy, EFT has relieved many people of their emotional issues.