These are the unconscious behaviors that have control over you. Exterand internal habits make life easier but can also be a living hell. If the incorrect mental habits were instilled during childhood you may suffer from procrastination, nail-biting, perfectionism and low self-esteem. Learn how to dig up your bad habits and change them forever.

Habits

“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle.

What are Habits?

Habits are not a choice; everybody on earth has them whether they are good or bad. Habits are behaviors that can be nearly or completely involuntarily and are performed on a regular basis. Habits are formed through repetition and are often carried out completely unconsciously. It would take too much mental capacity to not have habits, without them we would still be driving cars like we have never set foot in one or speaking like we don’t know the language. They are incredibly helpful and essential but sometimes they can be formed through bad experiences. Coping mechanisms such as biting nails is an example of this and is used to cover up anxiety.

Our thoughts and feelings can also be habits; people who often complain a lot or are very positive are the way they are because of habits. This is either from frequent repetition or physiological exposure; this means that if you are exposed to something over and over again you are going to create a habitual way of thinking in response to it.

Habits are a huge part of our character and cause us to think and feel the way we do. They can become so ingrained that we don’t have control over them, in extreme cases this can cause schizophrenia. Until we start trying to become aware of our mental habits, we are stuck with them.

What does science say?

For the most part, habits occur unconsciously and you are not aware of them, that is the whole point as they free up mental energy so our focus can be directed at other things. According to The American Journal of Psychology (1903) a “habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”

So habits are thinking patterns that have been acquired through repetition of a mental experience. This means that any action or thought that goes through your mind can turn into a habit if it occurs enough. It often goes unnoticed in people exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are basically, neural pathways that have been activated over and over again, this is why they are hard to break or form because it takes a lot of effort to reduce or increase these neural pathways. A habit can be efficient, unintentional, uncontrollable or unconscious or even a mix of these. This means that habits can help improve your life or drive it into the ground.

Where do bad and good habits come from?

Habits are all made the same way through strengthening certain neural pathways. It is the judgment we place upon them that makes them bad or good. The habits that make up your thinking patterns and character tend to come from our upbringing as that is when our brains were the most malleable. So if you had a good upbringing with regular positive mental experiences it is very likely that you are an adult with very good mental habits. However, if you had many negative experiences as a kid then the opposite is probably true. This is a general rule and is applicable to most people.

The benefits of having good habits are:

  • You are able to act according to what you think to be the best choice and a high level of self-trust.
  • You consider yourself equal in dignity to others, not inferior or superior.
  • You understand how you are valuable and interesting for others
  • You can easily resist manipulation and collaborate with others if it is appropriate.
  • You are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others
  • You can express discontent without putting yourself or others down
  • You enjoy a wide range of activities
  • You easily accept internal feelings and drives whether they are positive or negative
  • You don’t hesitate after failures and ask for help when you need it
  • You trust yourself to solve problems
  • You don’t worry about the past or future but still learn from and plan for both
  • You strongly believe in certain values and are able to defend them without feeling insecure

The disadvantages of bad habits:

  • See temporary setbacks as very permanent and tough to deal with
  • Feel envious and resentment frequently
  • Negative outlook on life and very pessimistic
  • Always trying to please and avoid upsetting people at all costs
  • Very indecisive and a strong fear of mistakes
  • Self-hate
  • Very vulnerable to criticism and resent feelings of being attacked
  • Very guilty and often dwell on past mistakes
  • Very defensive
  • Perfectionism

Are you stuck with your habits?

Bad habits are known as symptoms of an emotional state, such as anxiety, insecurity, inferiority, and tension. Nervous habits such as nail biting are formed at a young age and thought to be caused by a need for attention. It is these emotional states that need to be addressed and not the habit themselves. This is because the habit is just a symptom. Common bad habits stemming from repressed emotions are procrastination, fidgeting, and overspending.

The good news is once this emotional state is dealt with the habit ceases to exist. It is past trauma causing you to hold on to these beliefs systems that keep the habit ‘essential’ to your mental state. Because the neural pathways have been imprinted many times it may be difficult to uncover resistance, but once you do and find the root cause your whole life changes.

How to get your habits on your side

There are many techniques that claim to eliminate bad habits however most are not addressing the root of the issue. The trauma and emotion behind bad habits need to be explored and the best way to do this is through guided meditation. This is the process of diving deep into your subconscious to become aware and pull some beliefs to the surface, that you thought were not harming you but most likely are. These have become habits that are so ingrained you forget how bad they were making you feel. We then work on releasing these bad habits and add in some positivity with our positive affirmation program. With these techniques you can begin to change the neural pathway in your brain and boost your sense of self-worth and confidence massively.

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