A look at the best ways to break bad habits.

Do you have bad habits you need to break?

Do you often find yourself nibbling your nails, comfort eating, worrying needlessly, or over-spending on your credit card? These are all behaviour patterns which re-enforce negative feelings and negative outcomes, some of which can have seriously detrimental effects upon your health and wellbeing.

Bad habits are addictive - either physically, psychologically, or both - and you can feel trapped by them, so it seems almost impossible to quit. But, while you can't change other people's behaviour, you most certainly can change your own behaviour patterns. So learn to break free from your bad habits and take control of your life.

the word change written in paint

 

BAD HABBIT: Worrying

If you find yourself constantly worrying about every little thing that might go wrong in your life - it's time to stop. Worry leads to elevated stress levels, which can raise blood pressure, lower immunity, and make you feel depressed.

Break the habit: By thinking or speaking frequently about the negative side of life, you will draw that negativity to you. You don't have to transform yourself into an optimist overnight - just concentrate on the positives in a situation and don't dwell on the negatives. Stop turning problems over in your mind by writing them down as short sentences, then writing a short solution to each. Then put the paper away in a drawer. Know you have thought about the problems so now you can let then go out of your mind.

BAD HABBIT: Comfort Eating

Food should be eaten to nourish the body. When you start using it as an emotional crutch, you've formed a bad habit. Over-eating will take a toll on your health and can lead to serious medical issues.

Break the habit: Of course food should also be a pleasure - so indulging in a cake or a bar of chocolate once in a while is fine. But if you are over-eating to try and block out bad feelings, you need to deal with the cause of what's making you unhappy. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what might be the source of your unhappiness - be prepared to hear some difficult truths. Get started on changing whatever is triggering your comfort eating. Remove unhealthy foods from your home so you won't be tempted. Speak to your doctor if you have health concerns.

BAD HABBIT: Over-Spending

Many people find that shopping gives them a buzz. The act of buying something can be very addictive. That's fine if you are living within your budget. But the thrill of spending wears off quickly and invariably leaves you wanting more. The desire to acquire more has made us dependent upon a credit card culture or payday loans that leave millions of people struggling to pay their bills.

Break the habit: Ask yourself: do I really need this object? Ask yourself: can I afford this object? Answer truthfully. Draw up a weekly budget and stick to it. Over-spending is a short-term thrill at the expense of your long-term happiness. The belief that acquiring material things will make you happy is a delusion - it will never fulfil you because you will always want more. Break the cycle now!

BAD HABBIT: Punctuality

Always being late is not only disrespectful to the person you're meeting, it also suggests you are disorganised and unreliable - not traits you want to be associated with if you want to keep your job.

Break the habit: Everyone can slip once in a while but if you are constantly racing against the clock, it's time to have a re-think. Leave ten minutes early, set your alarm ten minutes early, do all the preparation you can the evening before to ensure you get out of the door on time.

BAD HABBIT: Smoking

Smoking causes a wide range of health problems. Breathing in cigarette fumes is harmful to the smoker and to those around them. It's a bad habit that is a physical and psychological addiction, which makes it very hard to stop. So you'll need proper support to kick this bad habit.

Break the habit: First, you have to want to quit. It's no use stopping because someone is telling you to - you have to want to do it for yourself. Get all the support you can from your doctor, support groups, friends and family. Use the stop-smoking aids such as nicotine patches to wean yourself off the drug.

BAD HABBIT: Lying

Although there are times when a white lie might spare somebody's feelings, most of the time being honest is best for everyone. If you get used to fibbing, eventually you'll get caught out and people's trust in you will evaporate.

Break the habit: Ask yourself: why do you feel the need to lie? Often this behaviour stems from a sense of inadequacy or the need to cover up your behaviour. Examine the root causes of your lies and change the behaviour that triggers them.

BAD HABBIT: Social Media Addiction

Are you always checking your Facebook profile or checking your Twitter account? It's good to stay in touch with friends but when online activity becomes an obsession, it's time to stop clicking.

Break the habit: Allow yourself set times to use social media - perhaps half an hour in the morning or 15 minutes at lunch time. Don't check social media when you are with other people, for example during a meal or while chatting with a friend. It's very disrespectful to the person you're with and you'll miss out on what's happening in the real world.

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