Habits Are they good or bad habits?


Are they good or bad habits?

    Most people go about their daily activities, attending to their busy schedules, and dealing with all the new surprises that appear throughout the day. They do this without paying much attention to how or why they are doing it. For the most part, we tend to perform our daily activities in nearly the same way each time. We are aware of most of the repetitive actions that we perform, while others we do without even thinking about it. We seem to carry out these activities as though we’re on an autopilot mode, with little to no thought or effort. We just do it.

    What are habits? 
    A habit is a routine, or a pattern of behavior that we repeat on a regular basis. A habit is reoccurring, and often an unconscious pattern of behavior that is achieved by frequent repetition.

    The behavior or pattern often starts on a conscious level, but through numerous repetitions, can occur subconsciously, almost involuntary. The mind knows what to do after several repetitions, to the point where it often goes unnoticed to the person exhibiting the habit.

    Habits are sometimes compulsory; where obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors occur so often that they become automatic, and can assist or interfere with your daily life. A habit or addiction can be as subtle as a particular mannerism or an uncontrollable irritating tick.

    A habit can also become a dominant or regular disposition, or a tendency or practice to behave in a particular manner, especially one that is hard to give up. Old, deep-rooted habits are usually hard to break, and new habits are hard to form because it takes a lot of time to destroy and create imprinted connections in the brain.

    A habit can begin by doing something that may seem difficult or a little awkward at first, but soon, after doing it a few time becomes rote, and we find it easier and easier each time we do it. After a while, we enjoy doing it and look forward to doing it again. Some habits can become an uncontrollable mental and physical urge that we have to satisfy. Drugs, for example, can create such a desire.

    How much of what we do is a habit? 
    It may be a surprise to some that a significant amount of our time is taken up by habits that we've formed and developed over our lifetime. Of course, the amount of time taken up by patterns varies greatly on a case by case, and person by person basis. Some habits can consume a persons' time. For example, a tough habit such as drugs or alcohol can consume almost 100 percent of individuals' time. They are almost always thinking about it or affected by it. Old habits developed over the years can also be almost entirely consuming, leaving little time for anything else. Unbalanced brain chemicals, or the misfiring of neurotransmitters in the brain, can cause repetitive behaviors to run amok. Excessive habits where you repeat things over and over again can be visible, and such is often the case with people that have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but that’s not a certainty.

    We don't always recognize habits in our behaviors. For the most part, we tend to do things without putting much thought as to whether it’s a habit or not, and that’s because we’ve done it before. But dealing with some new, can be a stressful, uncomfortable and challenging ordeal. Luckily, a relatively large percentage of what people do on a daily basis is repetitive to some degree.

    We create a new habit the moment our behavior becomes an automatic process. We instinctively behave and do things without much thought, and sometimes without regard to the consequences that may follow.

    Why do we create habits? 
    It's in our nature to repeat the things we do; after all, we are creatures of habit. Our brain is designed to perform repetitive tasks. We are comfortable with repetition, where things become easier the more that we do it. The ability to learn something often comes about through repetition, where things are done on a consistent basis.

    Almost everything that we do often enough can become a habit. For instance, some drugs stimulate and increase the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure. Pleasure is a wonderful feeling, and we can’t seem to get enough of it. We immediately react to the increase of chemicals in the brain, and we want to keep doing it, even if the thing is harmful to us.

    Habits are part of everything that we do. Eating, sleeping, our posture, how we talk and walk, all involve practices at some level, and to some degree. Habits also play a role in our likes and dislikes. Again, our habits help define who we are, and how we live our lives.

    Many of the habits that we have today started at birth. Soon after we are born, we instinctively begin to develop routines or patterns that we repeat over and over again until they become deep-rooted habits. These habits contribute towards defining our personality and our lifestyle. Some variations of the habits that we develop as infants will stay with us throughout our lives. We may think of them as tendencies or part of our personality, but they are habits.

    While we were developing our adult personality, we were also developing tendencies and habits that help to define who we are today. Our habits are an important part of who we are, and how we live our lives.

    Stress and emotional issues can cause self-destructive habits that affect our behavior and lifestyle. Problems with overeating, smoking, toxic relationships, financial difficulties, and gambling can be, at least in part, associated with unhealthy habits.

    Are habits good for us? 
    Well, that depends on the type of pattern. Some habits are good for us, while others are dangerous, harmful, or even deadly. A habit can become an addiction if we do it too often.

    How can we get rid of bad habits? 
    With habits playing such a significant role in our behavior and lifestyle, it’s our responsibility to identify and get rid of our bad habits. After all, bad habits can often interrupt, disrupt, and prevent us from accomplishing our goals. We can use our willpower and strength to break our bad habits once and for all. Where there is a will, there is a way, right?

    The answer is probably somewhere in between. It is possible to break bad habits, but it can be a harsh and exhausting process. Breaking bad habits can be especially tough when dealing with a deep rooted and severe addiction. Our brain, by default, is wired to fight change, regardless if it’s something right or wrong for us. Dealing with a stubborn person can be frustrating, but their unwillingness to accept change exists for a reason. Stubbornness protects us from being easily persuaded by everyone and everything that happens. Think about it this way; you’re fighting yourself every time to try to stop a bad habit. That doesn’t make sense, but we must take action to get rid of destructive and harmful behaviors, and create positive and healthy changes.

    There is a reason why we have all of these good and bad habits in our lives. It’s important to recognize that our practices help to define our behaviors, and we can't just get rid of them without suffering severe consequences and repercussions. There is a simple alternative to help us transition bad habits into healthy habits. Instead of trying to get rid of our bad habits, focus on replacing them with positive and healthy habits. We should first concentrate on identifying our bad habit, and then, replace them with a good habit.

    It has taken you a long to time to develop your bad habits, so you should expect that it will take a long time to replace them with healthy habits. It’s up to you to keep repeating the new task until it becomes a habit.

    How can we create healthy habits? 
    The benefits of healthy habits are enormous, and can be life-changing. Our ability to select the best option and make the right choices often depends on habits.

    Many of our habits occur at the subconscious level, where things happen without our input. To create new habits, we must repeat the behavior so many times that our subconscious mind takes over the process. Once that happens, we’re in autopilot mode; and the “action” turns into a habit.   

    Making significant changes can generate big rewards. We all want to make big changes in our lives, but that is usually tough to achieve, and even harder to sustain over an extended period. Big is good, but small is sometimes better when it comes to achieving and maintaining your “big” goals and objectives.

    Focus on replacing the tiny little habits that you think are unimportant. Instead of trying to change your behavior, try to concentrate on completing small healthy tasks, until they become a strong, steady habit. That habit will then change your behavior, and as a bonus, it will also positively affect your health and personality. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish by taking small steps in the right direction. These steps will get you to your desired and preferred destination. Little, tiny positive habits can produce significant results.

    What kind of habits will help us? 
    All positive habits can be helpful as long as they are done in moderation. Even too much of good thing can be bad for you. Your focus should be to create small, tiny, achievable and sustainable habits in all areas of your life-wellness. Concentrate on getting into the habit, and not on getting out of the habit.

    If you want to help yourself, learn how to use good healthy habits to help you live a better lifestyle. It’s not that hard if you keep doing it over and over again.

    Behavior modification is a lifelong and ongoing challenge that you need to do to live and create a better life for you and those around you. Changing your behavior so that you can get better results in your life, often requires multiple attempts to achieve small accomplishments.

    It’s simple; good habits move you towards your goals, and bad habits hinder and prevent you from reaching your goals. It’s your choice how you want to live your life.

    Believe in yourself and continue your quest to live a better, more fulfilling, happier life.


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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury. The Institute is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NIOSH is responsible for conducting research on the full scope of occupational disease and injury ranging from lung disease in miners to carpal tunnel syndrome in computer users. NIOSH is a diverse organization made up of employees representing a wide range of disciplines including industrial hygiene nursing epidemiology engineering medicine and statistics.


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