Habits & health
Life is compiled of a series of habits and daily choices that each individual makes on a daily basis. Habits are usually small choices we make on a habitual basis however, both “good” and “bad” habits can play a large impact on your overall quality of life. Our health, stress levels, and happiness can often be directly impacted by our daily habits. Bad habits can interrupt your life and bring upon negative implications. Just as good habits can bring upon positive life changes to your life. So why do we continue bad habits? Habits can be difficult to break because by the time they have become habits, you have likely been performing them for quite some time now. So as you can imagine, the longer a habit has continued or been reinforced the harder that habit can be to break. Perhaps, this is why many elderly individuals or seniors can have a hard time ridding themselves of bad habits. As we age, our habits can become even more impactful to our health especially bad habits such as smoking, poor eating, or regular stress. Being a senior attempting to shake a long time habit or someone trying to help a senior loved one do so, can be difficult and so we have compiled a list of techniques for you to try.
Techniques to try
Bad habits can often result from an attempt to cope with either stress, boredom, or fear and identifying the root of the issue can be especially helpful in overcoming a bad habit. In order to overcome bad habits, we sometimes must focus on replacing those bad habits with new habits. These new habits should however, be positive habits which will benefit instead of harm you. For example if you find that you smoke to reduce stress and that running can also help you reduce stress, you should aim to replace your smoking with the new habit of running, as both habits will provide the same goal of stress relief. Here are some additional techniques for you to try when attempting to shake a bad habit:
- replace bad habits with good habits
- eliminate triggers for your bad habits
- recruit and accountability partner
- accept failure and try again
- surround yourself with those who embody good habits
Often times there are triggers or feelings, responses, or environments that can trigger your bad habits. For example, perhaps alcohol can serve as a trigger for your smoking habit. You would then aim to stay away from drinking. Additionally, making others whom you trust aware of your habits and asking them to help keep you accountable for those habits can be especially helpful. Lastly, those who have tried to shake a bad habit in the past and were unsuccessful, often recount improvement followed by complete relapse or failure. When attempting to shake a habit, you should always expect failure or to revert back to a habit along the way however, it is important to not give up here. If you go weeks without smoking and suddenly give in one day, you should not then automatically continue your smoking the day after that. It is okay to stop and repeat until the behavior or habit is successfully eliminated.
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