Q: What is the key to breaking bad habits?
A: It depends upon what habit you’re trying to break. If it’s an addiction, like smoking, drinking, overeating, shopping, it just about always has a nutritional deficiency/imbalance associated with it. Very often you’ll see hypoglycemia, adrenal/thyroid weaknesses, and serotonin deficiencies. In order to deal with the addiction, these must be looked at.
When looking at any bad habit, one must also look at what payoff one thinks they get from the habit, which could take the form of attention, adrenaline rush, a temporary stress relief, etc. Then one could imagine what feelings would come up if one did not partake in the bad habit. What feelings does one not want to face? These feelings must be allowed to be present fully, to be watched by the watcher, in order for the bad habit to be eventually broken. In time, all bad feelings run their course if watched and not interacted with.
As a reminder, bad habits are often a learned behavior within the brain. To break them also inhibits the release of certain feel-good neurotransmitters. Therefore, when breaking a bad habit, one goes through a sort of neurotransmitter withdrawal. This withdrawal response becomes weaker and weaker every time you do not partake in the particular habit. In other words, with time, faith, and perseverance, bad habits may be broken.
And if you fall off the horse in breaking your bad habit, just get back on! Berating yourself keeps the issue at arm’s length, keeping it in place. Accepting your temporary failure humbles you. It both breaks down your ego and allows the habit to be dealt with again in a loving, accepting manner.