We call them “bad habits,” but these behaviors slowly eat away at our lives over time. At first, they seem pretty innocuous. Yet, they tend to accumulate and cause untold damage to our overall well being. Sometimes, they can be so bad they get in the way of our life goals.
Bad habits can include all sorts of things, like drinking heavily after supper, shouting at family members, or spending too long sitting on the couch. But now researchers want to know what lies at the bottom of them so that they can help people find smart ways to overcome them.
What Causes Bad Habits?
Bad habits don’t just occur randomly. Usually, they’re the result of one of two things: stress and boredom.
Take comfort eating, for instance. A lot of people raid the fridge every time they feel tense because it makes them feel better. High-fat, high-sugar foods give them the instant hit that they “need” to get through the rest of the day.
Boredom is just as bad. Not having a direction, purpose, or goal, leads to all sorts of dysfunction. It’s why unemployment is such a big problem for society. When people are out of work, they don’t have a focus.
How To Get Rid Of Bad Habits
Getting rid of bad habits, however, is a challenge. Unless you have immense willpower, you can’t resolve to just “change your life.” You have to have some sort of motivation.
Renaissance Recovery Center addiction treatment likes to focus on the long-term. It helps people think long and hard about what they really want out of their lives. And then it sets a goal they can strive towards. People don’t give up bad habits for long if they’re depressed or without purpose. What they need is something that keeps them anchored – something worth fighting for.
If you’re in the throes of a bad habit, the best way to deal with it is to replace it with a good one. There are multiple ways of doing this.
Suppose that you’re in the habit of checking Facebook every five minutes at work, and it’s eating into your productivity. Instead of logging onto the site, replace the urge with some rewarding work-related task, and get your kicks from that.
Second, try cutting out your triggers. If you’re trying to give up smoking, don’t buy a pack “just in case.” Instead, eradicate it from your environment. If you smoke with people at work, ask them not to invite you to come with them when they light up. They will help you.
Also, try joining forces with somebody else who is trying to do that same thing. If you know somebody at work who is trying to lose weight, ask them if they want to do it together. That way, you can generate a bit of accountability.
Fundamentally, breaking bad habits is all about feeling better about dealing with the motivation for engaging in them in the first place. Once you feel happier and less bored, a lot of habits fall by the wayside.