7 Ways to Unlearn Bad Habits That Harm Mental Health
Have you ever looked back on your life and considered the bad habits you’ve developed? Everyone does little annoying things that can be harmful to themselves or others. Although they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, there must be a way to unlearn all of the toxic behaviours you’ve acquired throughout your life.
Do you recall doing a whirlpool with your friends while swimming? You and those around you should walk in a circle in one direction until the water is moving quickly. Switching paths and trying to walk against the current was a lot of fun.
You quickly discovered how powerful water is, especially when it has become accustomed to flowing in one direction. You can apply this analogy to your own life. It’s difficult to make a 180-degree turn and form new habits once you’ve been doing something one way for a long time.
If you remember anything from your childhood about the whirlpool effect, you know that you can eventually change the way the water flows in the pool. You must be physically capable of combating the water’s resistance.
7 Ways to Unlearn Bad Habits That Harm Mental Health
Seven Techniques for Breaking Bad Habits
The good news is that you can unlearn all of your bad habits with a little hard work and determination. Here are some suggestions for completing this task and transforming into a new and improved version of yourself.
Recognize that you have a problem so you can start unlearning negative habits.
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward making a change in your life. Assume you’ve been a cigarette smoker for a long time. It’s difficult to break a habit like this, especially if you use it to cope with stress.
It will be difficult to change unless you acknowledge that smoking is harmful. Some people believe that smoking one or two cigarettes per day is beneficial to their mental health. It’s a bad habit, even if you’re aware of it. It will still be a difficult fight. Educate yourself on why this habit is harmful to your mental and physical health. Concentrate on these aspects rather than how good you feel right now.
Perhaps the financial cost will be a motivating factor. Consider what you could do with all that cash. You want your body to be a temple of positivity, and ingesting toxins and harmful substances will not help you achieve that goal.
Recognize Your Triggers
Perhaps you want to learn to manage your anger because it’s a bad habit that has gotten you into trouble. When you admit you have a problem, the next step is to figure out what causes it. Things like watching a football game may irritate you and cause you to see red when your team loses.
In this case, you should avoid football until you learn other coping mechanisms. Maybe you get irritated when your spouse goes shopping because they spend too much money. When you figure out what pushes you over the edge, you can work on controlling the raging rage that naturally arises.
Consider what you could do differently in those situations to maintain your composure.
Replace your toxic habits with positive ones.
Most people prefer the cold turkey method of quitting an addiction because they want to get rid of it as soon as possible. It is, however, impossible to break a habit that has developed over many years. Trading that negative pattern for a positive one is a good idea.
If you smoke because you’re stressed and your anxiety is at an all-time high, you’ll still need to learn to manage your anxiety in order to kick the habit. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, losing your temper, or binge eating to cope, take a walk outside and practise deep breathing.
Positive habits can become as ingrained in your personality as negative ones. If walking doesn’t get your blood pumping and make you feel better, call a friend and vent.
When you put some time and effort into it, you can find something to counter these toxic coping skills. Remember that it will not happen overnight, and you will experience setbacks. However, you are capable of doing so.
Recognize that you will fail.
Do you recall learning to drive a car for the first time? Getting behind the wheel and having so much power at your disposal felt overwhelming.
However, once you got used to driving, you discovered that you could drive with one hand, talk on the phone, gauge your speed without looking at the speedometer, and eat while on the road.
Practice, as with most things, makes perfect. When was the last time you ran a red light, pulled out in front of a car, or had a fender bender? With anything new, there are learning curves. Let’s put some numbers behind this analogy.
On American highways, teen drivers are responsible for five out of ten accidents. Teens are responsible for over 500,000 of the six million car accidents that occur each year. Another startling statistic is that most teenagers have an accident within six months of receiving their driver’s licence, indicating that lack of experience is a major factor.
You’re going to crash a few times as you start your journey to find positive habits and unlearn the bad ones. It will, however, become second nature once you have learned a few things. Just remember that you had to learn to crawl before you could walk, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you stumble a few times.
Recognize when you need assistance.
Everyone requires assistance from time to time, and you may require reinforcement when attempting to unlearn a toxic habit. Depending on the problem you’re trying to solve, you have several options. A rehabilitation centre or a spiritual guide would be helpful to someone trying to overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
If you’re having trouble controlling your anger, talk to a therapist about learning practical coping skills. There’s always someone who can assist you with whatever you want to unlearn.
When it’s time to unlearn negative habits, start small.
Perhaps you want to eliminate all sugar and processed foods from your diet. The last thing you want to do is go to a buffet and be enticed into succumbing to the temptation. It would be beneficial if you began slowly, as you want this to become a lasting source of positivity in your life.
So, since you already know that eating junk food is bad for you, why not start by avoiding candy bars and snack cakes? Then move on to something else once you’ve mastered these. Remember that going cold turkey rarely works for most people, so taking it slowly and developing good habits can be beneficial.
Keep a diary
Journaling has many advantages, but one of the most important is that it acts as a timeline, reminding you of where you’ve been. Begin charting your journey and the events that occur along the way. Make a list of the times you stumbled and the times you triumphed.
Keeping a detailed record of your journey from beginning to end can help you see how far you’ve come. Positive habits will soon replace all of the negative ones, and those toxic things will be a distant memory.
Final Thoughts on Breaking Bad Habits
Overthinking is one of the major issues that prevent people from succeeding. You may become so overwhelmed by the big picture of losing 50 pounds that you can’t imagine taking the small steps each day. It’s best to make a strategy and stick to it.
Stop thinking about it and just do it if you want to bring more positivity into your life and get rid of the toxic things. Set dates if you want, but don’t be so focused on achieving a goal by a certain time that you get angry when you fail and quit.
Allow yourself some grace and recognise that this habit did not develop overnight and will not disappear overnight. It doesn’t matter how quickly you complete your task; all that matters is that you complete it.
What difference does it make if you lose weight in three years while your friend loses it in one? When you have the right support and tools, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.