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How To Replace A Bad Habit With A Good One - The Quality Of Life
How To Replace A Bad Habit With A Good One - The Quality Of Life

Video: How To Replace A Bad Habit With A Good One - The Quality Of Life

Video: How To Replace A Bad Habit With A Good One - The Quality Of Life
Video: The Best Habit-Creating Method - How to Replace Habits 2023, March

The negative consequences of addictions (especially chemical ones) are obvious. They are usually described as “three deaths”: emotional, social and physical.

  • Emotional death consists in the loss of vital interests and joys; compared to addiction, everything becomes "unimportant."
  • Social death leads to the disintegration of relationships and connections, a significant decrease in social status. Addicted people form their own closed social circle, which supports addiction, but isolates from society.
  • Physical death is associated with the inevitable destruction of health in the case of severe chemical addiction.

Is there a way to get rid of the dependencies?

Throughout human history, people have not stopped looking for and creating a variety of methods to get rid of addictions. The progress has been modest, but there are a couple of encouraging news.

Back in 1976, William Glasser (a well-known American psychotherapist, founder of the so-called “reality therapy”) published a wonderful book “Positive Addiction”; unfortunately, there is no translation into Russian. The idea of the book is that at the origins of any addiction lies the way we respond to stress, which we once chose (this is the so-called "theory of choice"). Perhaps this choice was unconscious and not optimal, but nothing prevents us from making a new, better choice right now.

The choice in favor of negative dependence is always associated with a distorted and negative perception of reality and oneself (“life is pain, and nothing can be changed”) and using the easiest and most affordable way to alleviate this pain “here and now” without thinking about long-term consequences … It's like trying to heal a bad tooth with the help of analgin; more and more analgin is required to relieve pain, but for some reason the tooth itself is not healed without going to the dentist.

The choice in favor of positive addiction is associated with an accurate and positive perception of oneself, with the acceptance of even one's own non-standard and negative qualities. There is even such a term denoting agreement with oneself - egosyntony

Accurate perception helps to distinguish between superficial consequences and real causes of our life problems and stress. And a positive perception of yourself and your life's difficulties gives you confidence that everything can be changed for the better. Therefore, you need to choose not an easily available "magic pill" (giving temporary relief, but creating a lot of problems in the future), but become committed to some activity that really makes us better and helps to "outgrow" our problems.

Many drug therapists shrug their shoulders and argue that Glasser has not invented anything fundamentally new. Switching from one addiction to another less severe addiction is the approach that underlies traditional substitution therapy.

But Glasser suggested not just replacing "very bad" with "slightly less bad." He approached the issue radically: the basis of positive dependence should be a conscious choice of a way of self-improvement, which is socially approved on the one hand, and on the other hand, increases the self-efficacy and self-confidence of the person himself.

For example, such a "positive addiction" can be a passion for some kind of healthy lifestyle: yoga, meditation, jogging, cycling and others.

six criteria for positive addiction

To make it easier to choose, Glasser offers six criteria for positive addiction:

  • 1. This occupation does not compete for your time with other activities. It is enough for him to devote one hour a day.
  • 2. It is an easy and convenient occupation for you, which does not require large expenses and gives positive emotions.
  • 3. It is something that you can do on your own, regardless of the participation or help of others.
  • 4. What you do should be valuable and beneficial to you (on a physical, mental or spiritual level).
  • 5. You must believe (regardless of the opinions of others) that what you are doing will definitely change your life for the better in the future.
  • 6. You should like what and how you do (self-pride far outweighs self-criticism).

In fact, any activity, including professional or hobby, can act as a "positive addiction". Glasser considers the main result of the formation of "positive dependence" not so much positive emotions and a feeling of happiness (a person gets them from pathological addictions too), but a feeling of strength and control over his own life.

A person feels like a slave to negative addictions, while positive addiction helps him become the best master of his life and the author of his destiny

Therefore, if you want to get rid of some negative dependence, then you must remember that it is easier not to “get rid of”, but to replace the negative dependence with a positive one.


It is only necessary to make the right choice at every point of making daily life decisions (in favor of constructive behavior corresponding to positive dependence).

Positive addictions are the same "good habits" that are a kind of core of our lifestyle, the basis of vital energy

And finally, one more good news. If earlier in the study of addictions the medical point of view prevailed, which ranked almost all addictions as "pathology", today the understanding of addictions within the framework of the theory of learning is becoming more common.

In other words, the formation of addiction is fundamentally not much different from how any behavioral skill is formed at the neurophysiological, biochemical and psychological levels.

We learn dependencies in much the same way as learning the multiplication table. And this inspires a certain optimism: "pathology" can only be cured with the help of medicines and doctors, and the "wrong skill" can be "retrained", replaced with a new one, and this can only be done independently

And what kind of “positive dependence” are you ready to start instead of what negative one?

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