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Tips on Breaking Bad Habits

Posted by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:26 AM
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Take it slowly.
Old habits die hard. And the more years you've had yours, the more time you may need to give it up. So don't do anything too suddenly. "Though the cold turkey approach can sometimes work, it's usually only successful for a minority of people," says psychologist Bregita Martin. "For the majority, it's better to learn to live without your habit in stages."

Solution: Instead of trying to get rid of your habit, aim to indulge in it less often. Once you feel like you have more control, try cutting back even more. This habit-reduction method can be successfully applied to many kinds of habits. Over time you'll be able to cut back more and more, and, eventually, stop altogether.

Identify why you're hooked.
What's driving your habit? "Anxiety, boredom, frustration or depression are often at the heart of our longest held habits," says Martin. "If one particular emotion seems to chronically overwhelm you, maybe you should consider some counseling to examine why it's an issue and discuss some counter strategies."

Solution: Identify your triggers—the situations, places or feelings that cause you to eat a whole box of cookies or pick at your cuticles. Write them down, listing them in order from strong to mild. Once you know why you are hooked, you can work on strategies to counter those triggers.

Avoid temptation.
You know you have to avoid unhealthy foods. But every time you go for a cappuccino with a girlfriend or to McDonald's with your kids, you can"t seem to control yourself.

Solution: "For the first few weeks of quitting, it is a good idea to avoid situations that you know will trigger your craving," say Dr. Robyn Richmond and Kathy Harris in their book Becoming a Non-Smoker. "This will give you a few weeks to build your confidence before you expose yourself to potentially risky situations."

Create new behavior patterns
Do you chew on your nails or reach for a cigarette whenever you're feeling stressed? How about whenever you're bored?

Solution: The next time you catch yourself in the middle of this knee-jerk response, stop and do something else—count to 50, stretch your arms or flex your fingers. Have a small repertoire of behaviors you can use to replace the habit.

Be prepared for relapse.
Everything was going so well, but then you had a horrible day so you cut yourself some slack. Now you're slipping back into old patterns.

Solution: Don't go down the self-defeatist road of thinking, "Oh well, I just can't kick it." Regard your relapse as one small step back and focus on the many forward steps you've taken. Now go into damage control. According to Richmond and Harris: "A relapse can be a momentary lapse or can be a return to your habit. But there is a way to bypass this mental tug of war. Be constructive and analyze the relapse, identifying why it happened, in what situation, how you were feeling and what you can do to prevent the same thing from happening again. Then renew your commitment to quit."



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Meditate on your own Self. Worship your Self. Respect your Self. God dwells within you as you.”  Swamni "Baba" Muktananda

by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:26 AM
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