What are bad habits?
Bad habits are patterns of behaviors that don’t make us happy any longer.
We start doing a behaviour because when we started it, it made us feel better.
The behaviour can be biting our nails, pulling our hair, cracking our knuckles or doing things we know make us unhealthy: overeating ‘junk’ foods, drinking too much alcohol, smoking or any other compulsive behaviour.
Let’s take Annie who bights her nails. Annie began biting her nails when she was 5, when her parents were breaking up. Annie started to bight her nails when she was stressed about the split and felt powerless. She found some relief from her stress from biting her nails. Somehow it distracted her for a short time from her stressful situation.
Fast forward to today. Annie’s a successful executive who is in charge of a company. She feels embarrassed about the fact that she still bights her nails (which anyone looking at her hands can see). Despite feeling powerful in other areas of her life, Annie seems powerless to give up biting her nails. Instead of relieving stress, biting her nails is now a source of stress. So, why doesn’t she just stop doing it?
Why are may habits so hard to break?
Annie consciously would like to stop biting her nails. She tries to use her willpower to stop. Yet, the much larger part of her mind around 85%, her subconscious mind, still thinks that biting her nails helps to relieve stress. When she concentrates on not biting her nails, she can stop herself from doing it. Yet, as soon as she isn’t paying attention and is stressed she unconsciously goes back to biting her nails. She tried many things to stop the habit, from painting her finger nails with chili polish and as soon a the taste was gone, she was back to her old habit.
As long as she subconscious thinks that biting her nails will relieve her stress, she will keep biting them. Just like most of us who have bad habits, we find ourselves doing them again and again, when we stop being vigilant about stopping. And it’s a hard thing to be vigilant all of the time. In fact it takes a great deal of energy to be on guard all the time to stop a bad habit. Annie had decided that biting her nails was her lot in life and she gave up trying to stop and made jokes about it instead.
Time to reprogram the mind. It’s not as hard as you might think.
The good news is, that it is not very difficult to re-program the mind to stopping a bad habit for good. In fact, it can take only one or two sessions to reprogram the subconscious mind through hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming and the habit can be gone forever.
It’s important to make sure you have other strategies to manage stress that don’t involve your bad habit, so you don’t substitute one bad habit for another. In Annie’s case we don’t want her to stop biting her nails and then start drinking alcohol to manage her stress.
Giving up a bad habit is not hard, what might take a little time is to be in touch with all the benefits that you get from the habit and be sure to replace that with something you prefer, consciously and then in hypnosis introduce the same ideas the subconscious, so that you are now of one mind about the habit and quit the old one and replace it with a desirable habit instead.
If you have any questions about habits and breaking habits, please feel free to ring Briar or Luigi and we will be happy to answer those questions.