Welcome to 2015 and with this New Year many people want to address and resolve their ‘bad habits’. First off the block is what is a bad habit? And of course following on immediately from this how can a bad habit be addressed and made good with hypnotherapy?
What is a Bad Habit?
A bad habit is something a person does ( or doesn’t do ) that primarily creates problems in their life and secondarily, creates problems in other peoples life. It is only a problem to the owner of the Bad Habit if it is a problem. Period.
You might consider excessive procrastination, worrying, gambling, spending, over eating, over drinking, neglecting friends and family and yourself or a lack of exercise as typical examples.
How Habits Form
Do you have a familiar route to work? Perhaps a routine in the morning like coffee, shower a shave and something else? Perhaps you always call your mother on Sunday.
Our routines as we do them again and again have the incredible effect of putting extra myelin on our neurons axons, that’s our brain nerves or cables, making them more and more efficacious. The more we do and re-do something the more insulating myelin we have for those particular cables. That translates as an ‘unconscious’ habit – for good or bad or neither.
Our habits seem to form as we learn ways to cope and act in the world. So most habits have over time become ingrained into what we do on a regular or semi-regular basis. Most habits become automatic in the sense there is little wilful thought to make them happen. After all which shoe do you take of first?
Typical examples we can all relate to are going to the toilet, brushing our teeth, having a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. They are usually to make our life comfortable and serve us well.
Other ‘habits’ like repetitive email checking, checking social media, betting, excessive checking, worrying or the ‘bad habit’ you want to change have most likely formed so you can in some way feel reassured, calmer or at ease but as its a ‘bad habit’ it is likely having the opposite effect.
When habits are formed, there are certain neurological circuits and systems that can create genuine impulses in our body to actually seek out the behaviour that supports a habit especially when we are trying to stop that habit.
Here are two examples :
Suppose a person has nurtured a habit of avoiding public speaking. Avoiding public speaking will most likely feel good and safe. Problems can arise when this person needs to do a public talk, for instance to further their career or lets say do a wedding speech.
The body is ‘saying’ avoid but the intention of will is ‘saying’ lets do the public speaking. This will cause a stress response.
Another person is attempting to stop a long term gambling habit. They have damaged their bank account, their relationship with their partner and they really want to stop. Their habitual systems are screaming gamble gamble gamble.
They are trying to stop and this causes a stress response.
To a very large extent we are dealing with a stress response and a defying a reward seeking injunction which is modulating the stress response.
Many years ago, I watched someone who was ‘doing cold turkey’ as they were coming down from heroin addiction. They were shaking and covered in sweat. Pretty unpleasant to watch and no doubt much worse to experience.
They were experiencing a serious stress response caused by stopping a highly addictive drug, experiencing withdrawal and their set-point or homoeostasis re-compensation was literally all over the place.
Our bodies, brains and minds in their interaction have what can be called a ‘set-point’. That is an equivalence to homoeostasis. Homoeostasis means the ‘natural’ balance or equilibrium in our bodies bio-electro-chemical system.
Even the seemingly innocuous activity of habitual checking a smart phone for face book updates can create systemic motivation to regularly check.
The Brain and Addiction
Very simplistically all addictive behaviours involve some very specific parts of the brain. Specifically two parts: The ventral tegmental area ( VTA ) in the midbrain and the Nucleus Accumbens Septi ( NAc ) in the forebrain.
These two brain regions are connected by the meso-limbic and meso-cortical pathways which are dopamine circuits. Dopamine is the motivational or injunctional brain wiring that ‘helps’ us to carry out known and ‘rewarding’ behaviours be they physical or mental or both.
We get little chemical rewards that ‘make us’ actively engage in all sorts of habits be they deemed good or bad because our bodies really doesn’t often make the distinction between good and bad. The conscious meanings we make however really does and this is a cause of disharmony when its a bad habit.
Of course, its is not as simple as this. There are often situations and circumstances that make us remember our patterns of behaviour in such a place. So exploring the interaction of environment, people and triggers is part of the solution.
Hypnotherapy To Change Habitual Behaviours
Hypnotherapy in Newcastle can help to address the unconscious or bodily driven behaviours that have been made familiar over long use. These tend to be the sort of problems that seem to resist the conscious will and mind over matter approaches.
It’s a bit like updating the software to replace the old habits. See, we all know babies cry when they want food, changing, attention … Now imagine that an adult would still cry to get attention to to indicate they are hungry?
That would be odd to say the least. Because as adults we have ‘updated’ our programming to not cry when hungry or to get attention. We do something else like talk to people or take action to get some good food.
In the same sense our problem habits we want to change need updating while at the same time preserving what the behaviour is attempting to satisfy. So the idea being to create and utilise new behaviours which can replace the old problem ones and still angle at making us feel good. So one of the real keys if finding the real and honest motivation to change an old behaviour.
Helping Change Habits with Hypnotherapy in Newcastle
If you would like to explore how hypnotherapy can help here is how it works.
First telephone or email me, Nigel, on 0770 481 8467 and we can arrange a time for a completely free consultation. This will take up to 25 minutes.
Following on from this telephone consultation, you will fill in a simple questionnaire and then we will book your appointment. All appointments are two hours and take place in Jesmond in Newcastle.
You can find additional appointment booking information here by clicking on the link Booking a Therapy Session.
Take action and get professional assistance in changing your problematic habits with hypnotherapy in Jesmond Newcastle. Have an amazing New Year and … over to you to make the call.