Posts Tagged ‘bad habit’

Breaking Bad Habits Now

April 4, 2017

Habits form when we repeat an action and often they are very helpful to us. We form bad habits because they have short-term benefits, and we ignore the long-term consequences for this momentary payoff. The more enjoyable the instant gratification, the harder the bad habit is to break.

When behaviors are enjoyable, even if they’re unhealthy, they can release a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The habit becomes even stronger, and we continue doing it regardless of how we feel afterward (i.e. overeating, obsessively checking social media, etc.).

STRATEGIES TO BREAK BAD HABITS

Along the path to better habits, we must start by making a choice. Here are several strategies to break bad habits:

GETTING STARTED

  • Identify purpose – Perhaps the most helpful strategy is to understand what purpose the bad habit serves. If you weren’t getting something from it, you wouldn’t keep doing it.
  • Identify progression – What actions typically lead up to your habit? Disrupting the progression of events that trigger your bad habit sets you up for greater success.
  • Identify motivation – How would you assess your commitment to change? Feeling a deep connection to your “why” helps make difficult choices worth it.
  • Identify influence – Try to avoid individuals who are linked to dangerous habits like excessive drinking or drug use.

MOVING TOWARD GOOD HABITS

  • Plan ahead – Don’t trust your strength in the moment. Making a plan ahead of time for dealing with temptation prepares your mind to resist the urge.
  • Change environments – Be mindful of situations and temptations where it might be easy to continue in your behavior. This will help to eliminate the potential for a slip-up.
  • Practice mindfulness – Pay attention to your mind and body. Be mindful of the emotions you’re experiencing and what’s going on in your body.
  • Replace with good – Trade out your bad habits for good ones. For example, swap out the time you once spent overeating and use it to exercise.

POSSIBLE SETBACKS ALONG THE WAY

  • Not alone – You don’t have to do this alone. Find someone wanting to quit one of his or her bad habits and team up.
  • Forgive – If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Change takes time. Some days you might take a step back before you keep moving forward. Forgive yourself and keep trying.

Bad Bets

March 23, 2015

The Signs of Compulsive Gambling

The number of gaming establishments has climbed in recent years, and so have the number of people with gambling problems.

An estimated 85% of all people gamble in some form or another, whether it’s visiting a casino or race track or playing a lottery. Five percent of these people develop a type of addiction referred to as an “impulse control disorder,” according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The question that follow were developed by the self-help group Gamblers Anonymous to help determine whether someone should seek help for a gambling problem. The more “yes” answers, the more likely that help is needed. (Remember, be honest with your answers. To be anything but honest on a self-test is a form of denial, and denial is another sign that gambling has become a problem.)

Do You Have A Gambling Problem?

  • Have you ever lost time from work or school due to gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Has gambling ever affected your reputation?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Have you ever gambled to get money with which to pay debts or to solve financial difficulties?
  • Has gambling caused a decrease to your ambition or efficiency?
  • After losing, have you ever felt that you had to gamble as soon as possible to recover your losses?
  • After a win, have you had a strong urge to return and win more?
  • Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  • Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever felt reluctant to use “gambling money” for the things you need?
  • Have you ever gambled longer than you planned?
  • Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  • Has gambling ever caused you to have difficulty sleeping?
  • Have you ever considered suicide as a result of your gambling?

If this self-test has offered you insight into the negative effects of gambling on your life, get help. Gambling’s influence can be destructive.

Breaking Bad Habits

January 30, 2015

Do you typically think about every step involve din your daily routine? Probably not, thanks to habits. When we develop habits from our repeated action, it frees up our brains to focus on other tasks. The more enjoyable the instant gratification, the harder the bad habit is to break.

Why is it so difficult to change our vices? When behaviors are enjoyable, even if they’re unhealthy, they can release a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The habit becomes even stronger, and we continue doing it regardless of how we feel afterward.

Strategies to Break Bad Habits

It is possible to break bad habits, and humans are good at learning how to exercise self-control. Along the path to better habits, we must start by making a choice. Here are several proven strategies to break bad habits.

Identify purpose. What purpose does the habit serve? If you aren’t getting something enjoyable from it, you wouldn’t keep doing it. for example, maybe you smoke to help calm you down or you overeat for comfort. When you identify the needs behind the habit, you can look for healthier alternatives.

Identify progression. What actions typically lead up to your habit? Disrupting this progression of events can help set you up for greater success.

Identify motivation. Why do you want to change? Feeling deep connection to your “why” helps make difficult choices worth it. Be specific for greater motivation.

Tips for Changing Habits

Plan ahead. Don’t trust your strength in the moment. Making a plan ahead of time for dealing with temptation prepares your mind to resist the urge. Try calling a friend or someone to hold you accountable.

Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your mind and body. Be mindful to the emotions you’re experiencing and what’s going on in your body. This will help you take better care of yourself.

Replace with good. Trade out your bad habits for good ones. For example, swap out the time you once spent overeating and use it to exercise. Create healthy, daily routines to help fill the need or craving of your bad habit.

As with any difficulty, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Find a therapist, support group, or organization to help you get started on learning more about yourself. The encouragement could steer you toward the best strategy to break your bad habits and change them for good. After all, Who wouldn’t want a healthy lifestyle to be second nature?

Compulsive Spending

December 13, 2013

It’s a disorder as powerful as compulsive gambling or compulsive eating.

 

Overspending around the holidays is a problem for many people. But it’s one that can be easily remedied with thrift and good-spending habits in the months that follow.

But for some people, overspending is a year-round compulsion with drastic complications. Compulsive spenders may fisk their jobs, their families and their careers to acquire things.

University of Florida researchers estimate that between 2% and 8% of the population spends compulsively. Symptoms of the problem include:

  • being preoccupied with shopping or the idea of shopping
  • frequently buying unneeded items
  • routinely spending than one can afford
  • shopping for longer periods than initially intended

U of F researchers say compulsive spending is just like any other impulse-control disorder: shopping and the act of acquiring things lessens feelings of emptiness or anxiety. The disorder eventually takes its toll. The average compulsive spender is $23,000 in debt, usually in the form of credit cards or mortgages against his/her home. The person’s marriage or family life may suffer due to high debt, his/her job may be in jeopardy due to absenteeism following a shopping spree, and his/her social life may be in shambles due to borrowing money from friends. Some compulsive spenders may be in trouble with the law, stealing from their employers or others to pay off debts or to buy more.

To end the cycle, the person must acknowledge the problem and get help. If you or someone you know may be a compulsive spender, seek professional help.

Six Ways to Say Goodbye to a Bad Habit

December 28, 2012

Bad habits can range from the trivial, such as biting one’s nails, to the serious, such as the use of tobacco products, excessive drinking, or over-eating. The trouble with bad habits is that many times they are easy to start, but difficult to stop. There are many simple ways to help break a bad habit. Here are a few ideas to help you start on a new path.

1. Use a journal. Sometimes it helps to really think about why the bad habit is a part of your life. Are you trying to fill a void? Is it helping you cope with stress? Are you addicted to the bad habit? You need to answer these questions. Some people find that journaling, or keeping track of their thoughts in a book (or even online) can help them work through their bad habit. If you get a craving to engage in your bad habit, stop and think about why you want to do it. Then write down your feelings and explore them. A journal can also help you keep track of your many successes as well.

2. Get expert help. It’s important to realize that some bad habits are too big to break alone. You may need the help of a mental health care professional, such as a counselor, psychiatrist or employee resource professional in order to stop your bad habit. Other people may look to spiritual leaders like pastors or rabbis for advice and counsel. If you are dealing with an addiction or other health-related addiction, your primary care physician may be able to help you assess your problem, give you tips, and possibly even treatment to help you break your bad habit once and for all. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional during this important decision.

3. Replace the bad habit with a new, good habit. One reason many people find it difficult to quit a bad habit is that they don’t know what to do with their time once they stop engaging in the habit. Boredom strikes, and they feel tempted to fall back into their habitual behavior. Taking up new hobbies or activities can help you work through your boredom and cravings. Many people find that taking up a new exercise class or sport can be a useful and healthy way of avoiding their bad habit.

4. Find resources. In the age of the information superhighway, there is no shortage of information to help you fight through your bad habit. If you don’t have internet access at home, most public libraries and even some community centers have free computer access. Online you can access tips and advice on just about everything. Additionally, many 12-step groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) list their local meeting schedules and hotlines on the web.

5. Find support groups. Trying to break a bad habit alone can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if the habit you are trying to break is actually an addiction. You need not suffer alone. Many people find support groups or 12-step meetings are very beneficial to the improvement of their lifestyle and can help them fight through the urge to engage in their bad habit or addiction. There are 12-step groups for a variety of problems and addictions such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Over-Eaters Anonymous. Support groups meet in a variety of locations and at all times of the day.

6. Be proud of your progress. You should always be proud of your successes, no matter how large or small. Celebrate your progress, from week to week and month to month, and reward yourself for all of your hard work. If you meet a weight loss goal, treat yourself to a new outfit. If you have managed to stay smoke-free for a month, reward yourself with a new DVD. Just make sure your rewards aren’t triggers for your bad habit.