“First, we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” Rob Gilbert
Habits are defined as repetitive behaviours or actions that are performed automatically, often without conscious awareness.
These behaviours can be either positive or negative and are associated with specific triggers or cues. Habits can be linked to underlying beliefs and thought patterns, playing a significant role in reinforcing specific cognitive and emotional patterns.
Some habits are beneficial as they contribute to overall well-being and mental health.
For instance, engaging in regular exercise, practicing positive and constructive self-talk to boost self-esteem, and maintaining healthy routines can help us maintain good health, foster positive relationships and work toward achieving our goals.
However, some habits are harmful, such as smoking a cigarette after work, or snacking on sugary foods and drinks, Self-criticism, excessive worry, or avoidance of certain situations.
Unfortunately, some of the most challenging habits, such as smoking or comfort eating, are the hardest to overcome. These habits activate neurochemical responses in the brain that provide temporarily feelings of happiness and stress relief. However, this high creates a corresponding emotional low that can leave us feeling worse than before and prompts us to fall back into the habit repeatedly.
The good news is that it is possible to break bad habits and replace them with positive adaptive ones to help you improve your mental and emotional well-being. However, it does take some effort and the process can take several months.
This process involves identifying the triggers and consequences of these habits, challenging irrational beliefs associated with them, and developing strategies for behaviour change.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is a highly effective approach for identifying and changing undesirable habits. It places a strong emphasis on the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, making it a valuable tool for targeting and changing these unwanted habits.
For instance, you can replace the thought that smoking relieves stress with a more rational perspective such as: “There are healthier ways to manage stress.”
Many individuals discover that mindfulness techniques are highly effective in breaking unwanted habits. Mindfulness involves paying close attention to your thoughts and emotions to a greater extent than you typically do throughout your day.
CBH assists in recognising alternative behaviour to substitute for a bad habit. For instance, instead of reaching out for a cigarette when stressed, you might learn stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness. Mindfulness can be a valuable tool for managing cravings and maintaining self-control.
When you are consciously focused on your emotions and mental processes, you are in a much stronger position to challenge any unwanted thoughts or impulses.
Remember that breaking a bad habit may require time and effort. it's important to be patient with yourself and consider seeking professional help if you find it challenging to make progress on your own.
As a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, I employ a structured and evidence-based approach to habit modification, which has proven successful in helping many individuals in overcoming their negative habits and replacing them with healthier alternatives.