Most people go through life eating, working, socialising, without thinking much certain about how their actions affect their bodies. We may notice the effects our bad habits are having when we feel under the weather or have problems sleeping; but while we can make some connections between physical symptoms and our habits we are unaware of the real damage to our health and what to do about it.
Read on to see whether you recognise any of the problems and symptoms of these common things that can result in bad habits.
By eating a healthy diet, you can have a good effect on your body, brain and keep your weight under control. If you are eating a diet low in nutrients or foods that are bad for your body this can have long-term effects on your brain.
When you actively eat foods that damage your health, long-term your brain becomes exposed to cellular inflammation and this damages some cells that can cause development of diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Also food containing sugars and saturated fats like burgers, cakes and french fries can have detrimental effects on your brain. To stop this, you can start eating healthy foods: fruits, whole grains, fish and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and these will fight damaging effects of inflammation.
Stress and anxiety such as relationship issues, work commitments, family problems and financial issues can cause you to develop habits that can damage your health. Some stress is good when working hard towards your goals, but excess stress can lead you to eat too much of the bad foods. Stress can trigger a sympathetic nervous response that makes your breathing quicken and heart breath faster releasing cortisol.
After you calm down your parasympathetic nervous response kicks in which leads to you to relax. Chronic stress can make you forget things and be more anxious and perform badly at work. You may revert to bad habits like smoking, overeating or drinking too much. When you feel tense and anxious there are deep relaxation techniques, yoga, mindfulness, meditation and visualisation techniques that can help you get in control of the overwhelm.
An active lifestyle can help you not only stay physically fit but also keeping organs like your heart and lungs functioning better and maintaining your optimal weight. Exercise can also help keep you mentally acute and helps your cognitive health too. Movement improves physical and mental health, releases endorphins and keeps you looking young and healthy.
Even just walking for about 20 minutes a day is positive for your brain and can improve your cognitive brain functioning. It will mean making better decisions with your food habits, help you keep focused despite the many distractions around and help with conflicts that may arise.
Sleep can also enhance your health and well being. If you struggle with your sleep patterns, you will wake up irritable, tired and not able to concentrate on your work or at your studies. Lack of sleep can interfere with your brain function and you may resort to bad habits, such as eating junk foods to give you energy to work.
If you know that you struggle with sleep then aim to eat healthy foods in the evening – not chocolate or biscuits at night – also avoid caffeine or drinking alcohol before you go to bed.
Define the goals and set a time limit that is realistic with what you want to achieve by kicking the bad habits. It can be hard and emotional, but persistence will make you succeed.
If you can acknowledge your bad habits, take active steps with commitment and tailor your attitudes to match them, you will make positive changes to the bad habits that can damage your health.
Kick Those Bad Habits With These Techniques!
Try a few of these techniques:
- Recognise what your bad habits are and the reasons for doing the things that you regret later. Are they stress related or are you bored? Do they occur when you are doing a routine or do they occur in certain situations? Understand what your rewards for your vices are, what your triggers are and why your bad habits show up.
- Replace the habit with a positive habit like replacing junk foods with starting a new exercise class. This will take up less of your mental energy rather than cutting the bad habit out of your life. Willpower is a finite resource, so make it easy by distracting yourself with healthier habits.
- Don’t try to stop or contain your thoughts. If you are saying in your mind that you should eat that cake then all you will think of is that cake. So take away the temptations and surround yourself with healthy snacks.
- Change your environment or routines that are related to the bad habits. If you stop to buy a chocolate bar on the way to work, go a different way to avoid passing the shop. If you want a cigarette when you go out with friends, cut down on socialising for a short time to give yourself the best chance of quitting.
Kicking bad habits takes a certain amount of willpower and a good understanding of how your mind works. You need to work with these mental patterns rather than fighting against them.
If you find it hard to make long-term changes to your bad habits, attitudes or behaviours clinical hypnosis with cognitive behaviour therapy can help. It can identify the issues and triggers that cause your bad habits, and make healthier suggestions that will help you improve your health and wellbeing.
Contact me for a chat about your individual situation – click here.