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How emotions are connected to ‘bad’ habits

HolisticViewHabits are unconsciously repeated routine behaviors. If habits are harmful to your physical, emotional and mental health and to those around you, then these are usually referred to as ‘bad’ habits and they can be difficult to change.

The reason ‘bad’ habits are difficult to change is that they’re usually connected to some underlying unresolved emotion of which one may not be aware. It takes time to shift habits, but the desire to change a negative or unwanted habit is the first step.

Habits can come in many forms, and you can distinguish a ‘bad’ habit by how harmful it is to yourself or others. Examples of ‘bad’ habits are sedentary lifestyles, over-exercising, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, overeating, overspending, nail biting, staying in unhealthy relationships, overworking and uncontrollable negative emotional reactions.

If you can become aware of the underlying emotion that is driving the habits then you can either stop or at least be conscious of what you are doing. One of the first steps is to become conscious of the habit, then understand why you are doing it, then take steps to change it and eventually fully break the habit. Making the connection between what you are doing and feeling in your daily life and in your relationships will help you to understand the deep underlying emotions that drive your habits and behaviors.

One’s body and emotions naturally try to maintain balance and a sense of well being. The habit – for example, turning to comfort foods when feeling sad, or over-exercising to suppress feelings of insecurity, depression or anger – might give temporary relief but does not resolve the underlying emotion and is ultimately harmful in its repetitive nature – leading to stress and disease.

One example is cigarette smoking. Although there may be a sense of relief that comes from inhaling the cigarette, ultimately it is causing harm to your physical body and leaving it susceptible to disease. It can be the physical withdrawal that makes it difficult to quit, however, there may have been a strong emotional component that caused one to begin smoking that is being suppressed. So if you try to quit a habit on a strictly physical level then one habit may be replaced with another, or you find you return to the habit eventually, because the underlying emotion connected to the habit is unresolved.

Address the underlying emotion along with the habit and it will be easier and more effective to change and get rid of unwanted behaviours, and you can ultimately feel a sense of well being without the urge to turn to something habitually for relief every time that emotion comes up.

Using a holistic modality can help one understand the unresolved underlying emotions connected to ‘bad’ habits, help resolve it more permanently and add a sense of well being and health.

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