Struggling to Break a Bad Habit? Science Says You Should Do This

By March 27, 2020Business

Bad habits put your life on hold as you constantly try to break free from them. If not properly checked, it could put your physical and mental health in jeopardy, not even to mention the continuous use of energy and time. If they are so bad and unhealthy for us, why do we continue to do they rather than break away?

To figure out how to break away from bad habits, we must first understand what causes them.

Stress and Boredom the Major Causes of Bad Habit

Most bad habits stemmed off from dealing with boredom and stress. Idleness breeds mischief, and before you are aware of yourself, it has already culminated into a dreadful bad habit. Every bad habit you are trying to fight can be traced to either of these two. From strong alcoholic tendencies, drug abuse, to milder vices such as biting your nails and wasting time on the internet.

However, as difficult as it may seem, you can teach yourself to stop these awful habits before they ruin you. So what is the recommended approach to dealing with bad habits? Remember these stem from boredom and stress; hence, finding better and more productive activities to perform at such times will go a long way to put the bad habits in check.

Here’s What Science Thinks about Quitting a Habit

Research shows sixty-six days is the average time for a person to form a habit. It varies from 18 to 254 days for it to stick. Habits are the brain’s way of helping us by establishing a pattern that neurons can follow. They put us on autopilot. There is nothing to be embarrassed about when you have bad habits. Every person has. I know I have. Small, bad behaviors when piled up can have a negative impact in the long run. Your bad habits can create a dent in your productivity.

Habits are difficult to change because they are already ingrained in your system. Doing things regularly condition your neurons to make the action automatic. Hence to stop a habit, you need to develop a healthier habit in place of the old one.

How to Stop Bad Habits

Stopping a bad habit may seem difficult but if properly handled, can be achieved. Here are a few other steps to help you quit any habit you may have.

  1. pinpoint the behavior you want to change
  2. identify the reward that you get from the routine
  3. identify what triggers it most of the time

As soon as you have these three variables in place, the next step is to figure out a healthier habit to put in place of them. When habits are formed, the neurons in the brain follow a pattern that makes the activity easier to perform. This pattern is difficult to break. To weaken it, you must establish a new habit. Neuroscientist Elliot Berkman also confirms that the brain finds it easier to do something new than to stop doing the habitual activity without replacement.

In summary, habits are a part of character development, and no matter how difficult they may seem to drop, we have total control over them.

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