Habits…The Secret to Creating Good Ones
Which habits have you been unable to change? Some habits are good, some are utilitarian but some are bad and they create frustration and disease. The most obvious habits are brushing teeth, eating, sleeping and driving. The problem occurs when people are plagued with feelings of failure because they cannot break bad habits or create new positive ones. They feel like a prisoner in their own minds because of feeling powerless over their habits. The behaviors and feelings are deep in their unconscious minds and they don’t understand why they can’t change.
In the past 10 years research about the brain has shown that repeated behaviors create neural pathways of the brain. The longer the behavior is repeated, the stronger the pathways, creating super highways. We now know we can create new pathways throughout our entire life. The old expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is just not true. This ability to change is called the neuroplasticity of the brain.
Creating new neural pathways is simple, but not easy. Books have been written on ways to change new habits and they all say the same thing, you have to really want to change. It begins with being aware or conscious of the behavior to change and identifying the triggers that bring it on. The most common trigger from my clients is stress. Whether they reach for a cigarette, chocolate, alcohol or have interrupted sleep, stress is the trigger.
Smoking and overeating are not the problems to focus on to change the habit, the trigger, stress, must be addressed. A client came to me because she was “addicted” to cigarettes. She only smoked to ‘calm down’ as it was her stress reducer. She hated smoking and the way it made her cough but she felt powerless over the habit. Using hypnosis I was able to give her options for reducing her stress and she happily became a nonsmoker. Stress can’t be eliminated, just managed. Reaching for water became her replacement habit.
Eating habits are established in infancy so the neural pathway is very strong. My clients that come to change their eating habits are very successful because their motivation is very strong. They want to lose weight or eliminate their diabetes. I helped many clients add the habit of exercise into their routines when their goal was to be healthier. Using hypnosis we create the habits they desire and those habits become solid super highways.
One client came to me because she had very negative self-esteem. She developed a habit of negative self talk as a child. She was constantly criticized and put down by her mother who made her feel she was never good enough. Using hypnosis and self-hypnosis she created new positive self talk and a new habit.
The business of changing habits is a billion dollar business but none of it is necessary because we have the power to change our own brains using hypnosis and self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is the easiest most effective way to change habits because it communicates directly with the unconscious mind where all the habits are stored.