We all must admit of having at least one bad habit we somehow cannot seem to shake. For example, I suffer mainly from hoarding things that are useless in everyone else’s eyes. After extensive researches and a few trips to the therapist, several things became clear about how these bad habits come to be.
Most of them are caused because of stress, boredom, and even as a coping mechanism from a certain situation that has taken place. Very simple signs can show how stressful a person can be especially from biting your nails, to shaking your legs as you anxiously wait for someone or something, to wasting time on the internet for a whole weekend or however long your days off last. Any simple movement can reflect what your inner unconscious seems to be feeling or thinking.
Most of these bad habits start like that but we as humans can fight them and teach ourselves in healthy manners to deal with any factor that seems to be taken a toll in our lives. We can train our brains to slowly start substituting g our bad habits. We cannot deny that the stress and boredom factor can reflect something rooted deeper into our minds. These issues can be hard to think about or even try to handle, but if you want to be serious about letting them go, the first step is honesty. You need to be honest with yourself.
Sometimes there could be certain beliefs and reasons leading to these bad habits. There is also always something deeper like a fear, event, childhood believe that could be forcing you to hold on to these bad habits. It is like holding on to something bad. This is where recognizing these causes are crucial in order to overcome them.
People need to understand as well that you cannot eliminate any bad habit from existence, but you can replace it. any habit you have now, whether it is good or bad, is in your life for one reason or the other. In some way, these habits and behaviors provide a benefit to you even if they are bad.
Sometimes these benefits are something you believe even though everyone else would be disagreeing with you. For starters it could be biological like it is with smoking or drugs. Sometimes, it’s emotional like it is when you stay in a relationship that is bad for you. And in many cases, your bad habit is a simple way to cope with stress. For example, biting your nails, pulling your hair, tapping your foot, or clenching your jaw. The last being something I personally suffer from.
These “benefits” or reasons extend to smaller bad habits as well. For example, opening your email inbox as soon as you turn on your computer might make you feel connected as well as up to date and never late to any occasion that might be mentioned. At the same time looking at all those emails destroys your productivity, divides your attention, and overwhelms you with stress to keep up as well as up to date. However, it tends to prevent you from feeling like you’re “missing out” … and so you do it again over and over.
In your mind these bad habits some type of benefit in your life making it very difficult to simply eliminate them. Therefore, mostly any simplistic advice like just stop doing it rarely ever works or helps in the matter. That is why you end up replacing the bad habit rather than stopping it.
For example, if you smoke when you get stressed, then it’s a bad plan to “just stop smoking” when that happens. It could end up causing you more stress before anything good comes of it. Instead, you should come up with a different way to deal with stress and insert that new behavior instead of having a cigarette. In a way take your mind of off that second cig.
In other words, bad habits address certain needs in your life. Fir exactly that reason, it’s better to replace your bad habits with a healthier behavior that addresses that same need. If you expect yourself to simply cut out bad habits without replacing them, then you’ll have certain needs that will be unmet and it’s going to be hard to stick to a routine of “just don’t do it” for very long.