What does a typical Tuesday look like for the modern man? Chances are, his morning routine includes not only brushing his teeth but also a cigarette or a double shot of latte. At work, he chews on his pencil or nails, and at home, he eats them up with pizza. So how do you get rid of these habits?

    What Are the Bad Habits?

    Our days are similar to each other. We wake up at about the same time, eat breakfast, go to work, order lunch, and play at the Crazy Time casino in the evening. Our behavior is made up entirely of habits. This is necessary to keep our psyche in check. Washing your hands after the street, brushing your teeth twice a day, and taking breaks at work — these are all habits that help maintain health.

    We perform these actions automatically without straining our brains. Harmful habits, on the other hand, help us cope with the here and now: to calm down, to shift our attention. Only in the long term does it turn out that the harm from them often exceeds the momentary benefits. For example, a person can smoke in order not to be nervous, and it will even seem to him that it works. But in fact, nicotine only provokes stress, not reducing it at all. We understand the consequences of cigarette use, but somehow we still can’t quit. We live for today.

    How Bad Habits Come About?

    It’s a complex process in which the whole psyche is involved. It all starts with the fact that we are looking for a way to avoid negative emotions: stress, anxiety, and loneliness. Most often, this happens unconsciously, but not always. For example, we may consciously drink a glass of wine after a hard day because that’s how Samantha Jones from Sex and the City escaped stress.

    When a bad habit brings temporary relief or pleasure, the brain records it as a positive experience. It activates the reward system and releases dopamine. But over time, the brain begins to associate places, situations, and emotions with the bad habit, forming reflexes. With regular repetition of the bad habit, the brain adapts to the constant supply of stimuli, which can lead to psychological or physical dependence. As a result, a person finds it difficult to give up the habit without help. One gets the feeling that it’s impossible to live without it.

    What to Do?

    To work through any patterns of behavior, it’s important to understand how and why they formed and became entrenched. To break bad habits, you can take a holistic approach that includes several key strategies. First, it’s important to practice mindfulness and self-monitoring. You need to recognize when and why the urge to commit a harmful action arises. Write out your thoughts, feelings, and the situation when you felt the urge to chew on a pen or smoke. This will help you see patterns and triggers that provoke the habit. Don’t try to quit it in one day; this is unlikely to be effective as it will leave a psychological void in the habit’s place. Instead, you can replace a bad habit with a healthy one. For example, snacking on fast food can be replaced with healthy alternatives.

    The next step is to set realistic goals and reward yourself for each step in the right direction. For example, if your goal is to quit smoking, you can start by reducing the number of cigarettes per day. It is important to maintain physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.