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Video: Puzzle Templates - Self-development
The ancient Indian proverb "Sow an action - reap a habit, sow a habit - reap character, sow character - reap destiny" makes you seriously think: do habits mean so much to a person?
Our life is, in fact, a collection of diverse habits. All developed patterns, stereotypes of thinking, rituals, daily routines, likes and dislikes towards people are nothing more than habits. Any meeting with a new one requires adaptation, checking this new for safety, and then it becomes a habit. Thus, our addictions become destiny, because thanks to them we form the environment, lifestyle and worldview.
In psychology, it is generally accepted that a habit is a well-learned action, in the performance of which a person has a constant need. It arises after repeated repetition and is consolidated when it ceases to require volitional and cognitive efforts. In this case, it is not the result that becomes important, but the process itself, which causes positive experiences. So it’s not so much repetition that’s key, but positive experiences.
By the way, this small but extremely important nuance was not taken into account by Maxwell Moltz, thanks to whom there is a persistent myth in the field of amateur psychology that a habit is formed in 21 days. Plastic surgeon Moltz put forward a hypothesis of 21 days, according to which it is during this time that a special connection of neurons responsible for the formation of a habit is formed. This purely speculative theory was not confirmed experimentally: many people needed more time to get used to any action. Psychologists have found that different people need 18 to 254 days to automate an action, that is, almost eight months. However, speaking of the timing, it should be emphasized that the habit will not form not only in days, but also in months, if the action is not positively colored.
In addition to habits, skills are our helpers in everyday matters. And it is important to distinguish them. A skill is an action developed through training and volitional efforts, which is subsequently reproduced automatically. Is cycling becoming a habit? After learning once, we do it without hesitation. No, it's a skill. But it’s a habit to ride a bike to a coffee shop on the way to work in the morning.
The main difference between these concepts is that a habit is always closely associated with a positive emotional component and is rather a kind of ritual that brings pleasure. The skill may not be associated with pleasant emotions, it is developed through volitional efforts and learning new forms of behavior and action. In this sense, it is easier to acquire a skill than a “useful” habit, multiple repetitions are enough.
You can learn something by force, but for a habit you need an experience of pleasure or comfort associated with a certain action. And if this pleasure is found, then the habit arises almost instantly. This is explained by the mechanism of the formation of new neural connections. It is known that serotonin accelerates learning and lengthens the retention of skills developed on emotionally positive reinforcement. The formation of neural connections when addiction occurs is always accompanied by an active release of serotonin or norepinephrine, as a result of which a person either constantly seeks to repeat some actions, or, conversely, avoids actions associated with unpleasant experiences, or forms protective rituals. Thus, it often does not take even a week for a successful person to develop a real habit.
HARMFUL OR USEFUL?
Habits not only shape our lives and have a huge impact on it. Naturally, humanity is puzzled by the problem of eradicating "harmful" acquisitions and developing "useful" ones. Bad habits are any that are harmful to health or are simply not accepted by society. Addictions include eating junk food, which has a negative effect on the state of the body, as well as the habit of biting nails, which is quite harmless from the point of view of an individual, but disgusts others.
What are bad habits? These are various kinds of rituals and protective actions that allow a person to achieve a comfortable state, providing a sense of security or pleasure. In any bad habit (whether it be the need to eat fries or smoking) there is something that makes a person do it again and again, despite the full awareness of the harm.
The psyche always tries to follow the shortest path to pleasure or calmness. If in a certain situation it is possible to quickly cope with stress or other negative experiences, neural connections are formed, the cycle ends, then it will take time to change them again to get rid of the bad habit and acquire a useful one. It is necessary to form new positive experiences from action and deprive this privilege of the old ritual. It is worth noting that in society, bad habits are usually called a large number of painful conditions - from phobias and obsessions to addictions. However, neither mesophobia with constant washing of hands, nor alcoholism are treated with the advice to “pull yourself together,” “defeat a bad habit,” and this does not depend on willpower. These diseases are based on completely different mechanisms,the basis of which is a morbid state of personality.
COMFORT ZONE TRAP
It is said that man adapts to everything. Indeed, many people live for years in cramped or even unsanitary conditions, eat poorly, and endlessly scandal. “They are so used to it,” they say about this way of life. Can you get used to negativity? After all, such an existence seems to contradict all the laws of life. But we must not forget about the adaptation mechanism. Sooner or later, negative experiences from any conditions dull and become "background", as if fading into the background. The body is looking for a way to adapt to the conditions in which it found itself in order to survive and continue to exist. Life is the most important thing, and therefore a person is able to get used to anything in order to postpone death. Thus, the very "comfort zone" is formed, while remaining in which a person usually does not face a new one,does not develop, does not know the world, but retains a sense of security for his own life. This zone turns out to be a trap, and acquired habits are the hardest to change. Only an active awareness of the impasse and maximum volitional efforts will help to break out of its clutches.
THROUGH AWARENESS - TO HABITS
In psychology, the formation of new habits is called habituation and is defined as the development of a response to a stimulus characteristic of all living things. Thus, the stimulus that helped to develop the habit may become a thing of the past, but the addictive effect will still remain.
Forming new habits is not easy. As we mentioned above, repeating an action is not enough. For example, a person decided to eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of sandwiches. But he manages to do this only occasionally, more often he wants to stay in the comfort zone and quickly cook delicious sandwiches with sausage, and not cook boring oatmeal. It is extremely difficult to develop a habit based on unpleasant sensations and difficulties. This is why diets “don't work,” that is, they don't become a habitual way of eating. But it is even more accurate not to rely on a certain social stereotype about the benefits of oatmeal, but to listen to your stomach, what exactly it is comfortable for him to receive in the morning. And only then a person realizes, will feel that sandwiches are hard and uncomfortable, that porridge is possibly also,but yoghurts or fruits are very comfortable and tasty food, when consumed there is pleasure in the process and a feeling of cheerfulness after. But this focus of awareness will have to be kept tightly in check for some time.
Recently, conscious eating, conscious movement, conscious life have become a fashionable trend. In pursuit of awareness of each step and sigh, we forget that the result should be exactly that very useful habit - some kind of action, a way of thinking or a way of life brought to automatism.
The habit of a healthy, harmonious lifestyle helps to develop fully. Only by getting used to being aware of our life, our functioning here and now, will we easily form good habits and get rid of bad ones.
HOW TO CHANGE A HABIT?
One of the main tasks is to destroy the unconscious stereotype of behavior and / or create a new one. It takes time to form new neural connections responsible for new habits. Therefore, any deep change is good to start with "small steps": they become automatic faster and form the basis of habits. And most importantly, they are realizable, and it is easier to be sure that everything will work out. For example, if you are used to "seizing stress", think about what you could do before putting the first bite in your mouth? Breathe in in four counts and breathe out for six, say something nice to yourself, or slowly count to ten? Whatever you do, it will destroy the stereotype, and gradually you will learn to deal with stress differently. And be sure to praise yourself for success, even the smallest. The result will not be long in coming.
individual and family psychologist, head of the psychological center