Teaching Your Brain to Ward Off Bad Habits
Every bad habit can be broken. All it takes is perseverance and a smart strategy.
What's the Latest?
The Chicago Tribune currently features an article by Danielle Braff detailing strategies for breaking annoying habits. Braff explains that to tackle a bad habit, one must understand the anatomy of a habit. She evokes Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, who offers a tripartite explanation. Every habit, says Duhigg, consists of a cue, a routine and a reward:
"The reward is how our brain learns how to latch on to the habit," Duhigg said, explaining that the reward is always something positive. Your brain tries to turn a repeatable pattern into a habit as long as it has a reward attached. So if you have a cup of coffee with a cookie, then your brain will use the coffee as a cue for a cookie. If you do this often enough (every other day for three weeks, for example), your brain will turn it into a repeatable pattern, and that pattern will become a habit.
As you can probably surmise, the secret to kicking habits is to train the brain away from this routine.
What's the Big Idea?
Braff offers a number of examples of ingrained, trained habits and the ways one can re-train the brain to avoid falling into the subconscious pursuits of unhealthy rewards. She acknowledges that some strategies require more effort than others -- some even requiring broad lifestyle changes.
Braff's article also features strategies for how to avoid falling into bad habits, the classic "cure by prevention" method. She quotes author Tara Gidus:
"I think a lot of it is planning, as in having healthier substitutions, but it also has to do with plain old willpower and self-talk."
Read more at The Chicago Tribune
Photo credit: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.