Understanding how good habits and bad habits are formed and created deep within our unconscious mind and how they can help or hinder us…

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“Start building helpful, healthy habits to last a lifetime with the Wisdom Room which can lead to a happier, healthier you…

What is a habit?

Habits are routines of behaviour that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously (without even being consciously aware of them.) Habitual behaviour often goes unnoticed in the person exhibiting it, because they do not engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. They are usually carried out repeatedly with little thought or effort and can influence the way we feel about ourselves and relate to others.

Getting up in the morning, driving a car, using a knife and fork, typing on your computer keyboard and even much of what we call introductory conversation. “Hello” and “How do you do?” are all helpful habitual responses. These types of routine behaviour can serve us well when carrying out mundane chores in our everyday life but serve us less well when we develop bad habits that are detrimental to our health or well-being.


How are habits formed?

What the subconscious has dutifully learnt over time by repetition and association often doesn’t respond immediately to a conscious decision to stop. The subconscious learns well and is programmed to remember our instructions but it can’t really differentiate between a good or a bad habit. •

Remember any behaviour we habitually repeat gets stored and replayed in our subconscious mind, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. It just becomes part of the vast neural associations in the brain and starts building pathways. To create a habit at an unconscious level, we need to keep repeating it again and again until it becomes progressively more automatic. But to stop a habit, we need to find a way to break the old pattern at one or more stages in the habit cycle. This is where the Wisdom Room can help…

Habitual behaviour can be instigated by the repeated process of behaving in a certain way in certain situations. These behaviours can be triggered by external cues or triggers.

How long does it take to make or break a habit?

One of the most common questions I often get asked as a therapist is ‘How long does it take to make or break a habit?’

There is a popular idea out there that it takes 21 or 30 days to form a new habit but, in my experience, it has nothing to do with the amount of time passing and more to do with the amount of times the behaviour is repeated.

You could do something three times in 30 days or 300 times in 30 days. What matters is not the timeframe or the number of hours passed, but the frequency of the behaviour. To build a habit at an unconscious level, we need to keep repeating it again and again until it becomes progressively more automatic. Such as craving a cigarette when you are in a pub and then meeting particular associates there who encourage you to drink more.

However, habitual behaviours can also be triggered by internal thoughts, feelings or physiological processes such as feelings of annoyance triggering the desire to smoke a cigarette or feelings of anxiety causing you to bite your fingernails or drink excessively.

Habits like smoking, nail biting and teeth grinding are generally considered ‘bad habits’ because we have fallen into behaviour patterns which don’t serve us positively. When a habit makes us feel uncomfortable, lacking in control or has the potential to cause negative consequences it is no longer helpful or beneficial for the individual who may decide then to consciously change the behaviour.

If any of this sounds familiar why not contact me? Here at the Wisdom Room, I use a combination of Integrated Hypnotherapy, NLP and the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution Focused Psychotherapy to help you overcome your habits and regain your freedom.

“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought…’I release the need for this in my life…”


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