When we’re working to heal, we examine the fears and emotions that are contributing to our unwellness. We analyze and work to change our beliefs. For example, we can’t heal if we don’t believe we can. What we sometimes neglect, but which are just as important, are our habits. Our recovery will only be as successful as the habits we create for ourselves. Recovering from addiction and mental health issues means taking inventory of all the destructive, harmful habits we’ve been perpetuating both consciously and unconsciously. Healing means actively working to discontinue these habits and to replace them with healthier, more empowering ones.
Changing our habits starts with becoming mindful of our existing tendencies. Start to take notice of your regular behavioral patterns, emotional responses and ways of thinking. How do you react to stress? How do you respond to conflict? How do you cope when you’re feeling down? What are your default thought patterns, the ways you think when you’re not being mindful? How we operate in our lives, how we function on a daily basis, how we think, feel and behave is all comprised of our habits. What are some of your habits? Are they destructive? For example, maybe you have a mental habit of responding to stress with panic and worry. Once you’re more mindful of this habit, you start to see how counterproductive it actually is.
Once we are more aware of our existing habits, we can create new ones to replace them with. Using our stress response habit as an example again, what is a different mental habit that would serve us better? We would be better served by staying calm, by responding to stress with faith, by choosing serenity rather than reacting with panic. We can create a stress response plan delineating habits that we will implement instead of worrying, such as deep breathing, meditating, repeating calming affirmations, talking to a friend (one who doesn’t tend to panic!), exercising, or praying, all of which can ease our anxiety and contribute to our feelings of calm and wellness.
Our habits are only as beneficial as our consistency with them. We have to practice them regularly to really reap their benefits. If we start a habit, give it a try a few times and then think about it, we can trick ourselves into thinking we’re actually implementing it, but we have to practice it consistently for it to take effect. We also don’t want to overwhelm ourselves by starting too many new habits all at once, so let’s increase our chances for success by working to implement one or two new habits at a time.
Bayview Recovery offers multiple kinds of therapy, mindfulness education, and life skills development to help you create lasting change in your life. Call us today: 888-570-7154.