All of you, like us, couldn’t possibly have any bad habits . . . just in case you want to help “a friend” change their habits here’s what Alex Korb, a neuroscientist has to say:
Your brain does not separate good habit and bad habits. All habits are helpful, even if just for a short time. Habits are a way of making something automatic and easy to do, and habits are familiar and comfortable. The distinction between “good & bad” is identifying habits which are beneficial in the long run, not just the short run.
There are many kinds of habits: behaviors, thought patterns, acting on emotional responses . . . “Bad habits” can range from eating too many sweets, to always discounting your own problems because others have it worse, or getting angry when feeling hurt.
Want to know how to fix bad habits? Here are Dr. Korb’s key steps:
Step 1: Acknowledge your habits. (The first step to ALL change is AWARENESS)
Step 2: Be compassionate to yourself (or at least go back to step 1 and acknowledge your habit of self-criticism)
Step 3: Since all habits are triggered by something, figure out what triggers your specific habit and alter or eliminate it. (Imagine if you had some malicious software on your computer, if you don’t click on it, your computer won’t be compromised. If your habit is eating too many sweets, don’t walk down the cookie aisle in the market. It’s easier to AVOID temptation than it is to resist it.)
Step 4: Make it easier to do good habits by making a specific, easily-achievable, action plan. (When you have a sweet craving: eat fruit, change your surroundings and go for a walk, set a reminder, and involve other people.)
Step 5. Reward yourself for creating good habits. (just like training a puppy, punishment will just make it get scared and pee on the rug. And NO, not cookie rewards!)
Two things to watch for:
1. When you are stressed, your ability to think things out is reduced, and reverting to old habits becomes more likely. Breathing exercises is one of the easiest, quickest ways to bring the stress response down.
2. Korb also notes that if you think about positive qualities you possess, it will be easier to change those bad habits. Ask yourself what others appreciate about yourself – qualities and behaviors you do not want to change. Write them down so you can quickly remind yourself of your positive traits.
If there’s something that has helped you (or your friend) create a “good habit” let us know.
Alex Korb, neuroscientist, author of “The Upward Spiral”
For more, see https://alexkorbphd.com/