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How to Kick Your Bad Habits With Mindfulness

Anger is an all-consuming emotion at times, even more so now as we deal with new situations. If you don’t get a grip on it, it can affect your quality of life. Anger will damage your relationships and raise your stress levels. If anger is beginning to impact your life, start taking steps to control your emotional state.

Bad habits are hard to kick to the curb.

You carry out ingrained behaviors on autopilot and barely recognize them until they affect your health and happiness. You might be unsuccessful if you want to stop them with conventional methods. But there is a workable way to break old behavior patterns. Mindfulness can help you retrain your brain and bring yourself closer to success.

Why do you carry out bad habits?

You engage in bad habits because they feel good. When you are in a terrific frame of mind, your brain won’t urge you to boost positivity because there’s no need. So, if your mindset’s healthy, the urge for a cigarette or food treat doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s more likely you’ll want to engage in bad habits when you’re bored or anxious.

Boredom makes you want to increase uplifting chemicals. In doing so, you carry out behaviors that boost happy hormones. The same happens when you face stress. During stressful times, the part of your brain concerned with reasoning disengages. It switches off to give you more energy to manage whatever causes your anxiety.

Eons ago, the ability to stop logical thought and react to a stressful stimulus aided survival. People needed to run from danger or fight. Now, your stress may come from a relationship, worries about the future, or a careless driver, and your anxiety stays high. As a result, we continue with unhealthy habits. Our system tells us to engage in behaviors that reduce stress.

Mindfulness switches the prefrontal cortex back on. As a result, you can recognize your behavior and see that you can choose your actions. It can also help you realize how your bad habits affect you in the moment. Want to quit smoking? You’ll note the foul smell of smoke as it enters your nose and throat and the discomfort it causes as you take a puff when you are mindful. Likewise, if you want to stop overeating, apply mindfulness as you tuck into an extra slice of cake. You’ll notice discomfort in your stomach as it stretches, and the stickiness and sweetness will be repulsive.

How to apply mindfulness to bad habits

Be curious when you carry out bad habits. Engage your senses and check in with your physical feelings and emotions. Note any discomfort in your body and ask yourself questions to boost mindful awareness. For instance, do you enjoy the scent, sound, taste, physical sensations, and sights before you? Or are they unpleasant?

Also, does the behavior match your goals? If not, what consequences do you face? Will you be fatter, poorer, and less healthy and happy? Your bad habit may stop you from improving life and getting what you want. With increased awareness, you will see your unhealthy habits. They will stop providing pleasure. The process is gradual, but continue and repeat it, and you can quit unwanted behaviors.

Bad habits are hard to break, but you can change them with mindfulness. Get curious when carrying them out, and you’ll learn how they affect you, not only long-term but as you engage in them. They will lose their lure, and quitting them won’t be tough.

Our trained counselors are ready to work with you to help you develop mindfulness skills. In doing so, you will have more control over your thoughts, behaviors and emotions.

We encourage you to schedule an appointment. You may do so online, contact us here or call our office at 480-470-4228. Let us help you reach your best life goals.

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Reference: Headspace.com/articles/break-bad-habits.