When we recognise and take charge of our Habits the door for change swings wide open. Read this page to get an overview of habits, how we can work with them and have fun with habit changing hypnotherapy.
What comes to mind when you think of the word Habits? It can be quite a divisive term and is often portrayed in a negative light. Perhaps thoughts of Smoking, Nail Biting or Junk food.
Of course good habits have at least an equal place and you may think of, exercise, saving money and recycling as examples.
Charles Duhigg author of, The Power of Habit explains how habits follow a three step process:
Cue – Routine – Reward
The cue can be simple and obvious, you feel thirsty
And invoke a Routine, fix yourself a drink and consume
The Reward, you feel your thirst quenched
When we consider this as a Habit it opens the door to see many more of our everyday activities as Habits or perhaps Strategies; developed to help us function.
And through repetition we reinforce these routines until they become second nature to us; they become habits.
Some habits are created consciously, we talk about ‘getting in the habit’ and others take hold perhaps without us noticing. Then there are the habits that you consciously set about forming and somewhere along the line became hijacked. Perhaps you got yourself in the habit of sitting down at your desk on time only to find yourself playing Solitaire!
When we classify habits as good and bad it naturally follows that good are beneficial and bad detrimental; let’s consider the pros and cons.
Example Pros of Good Habits:
- Create order in our lives
- Reduce cognitive processing – we already have response to the cue
- Good Health
- Other people can get to know us and our reactions to certain cues
- Socially recognised habits avoid disputes
- Sharing habits creates relationships between people
Example Cons of Bad Habits:
- Poor Health
- Socially unacceptable behaviour
- Environmental Damage
- Distaste between people
- Financial Problems
As we know habits can be formed intentionally, some unintentionally and some as a sort of hybrid. The common fact is that they all formed for a reason, perhaps misjudged or ill informed but a reason nonetheless. So what are some of the reasons we form habits?
- To complete necessary tasks
- To replicate gratification
- Through repetition
And of course, the ‘I don’t know why, I just always have’
It makes sense that if we want to make changes to habit we need to understand the Cue, Routine and Reward; but there is more to it. The evolution of a habit is equally important, have any of these three points changed? And how long has the habit been present.
Charles Duhigg also explains that we can’t simply erase a habit we need to replace it with something else. Currently a prevalent example of this is the mass growth in Vaping; the electronic substitutes for smoking. While there are thoughts that vaping could lead previous non smokers to cigarettes, as a way to stop smoking they tick a lot of boxes. Provide the reward, replace the routine and can be used on cue.
Similar to many habits Smoking has its own unique make up and so Smoking Cessation with Hypnosis requires tailored techniques in each case.
Pulling apart a habit to understand it can be enlightening, it can be that you know it’s no longer appropriate and despite strong evidence and reason for change in the world you can’t master it. This is where Hypnotherapy can help you change your unwanted habits.
A reoccurring theme of the work I do to help people with Hypnotherapy is bridging the gap between changes they want to make and self-defeating actions and thoughts. This applies both to changing an existing habit or creating a new habit.
So what will be the next new habit you wish to create; Healthy eating, Exercise, Studying?
Or perhaps you have a habit to take charge of.