Habit is a repeated behavior in response to a message from the brain. Do you know that whenever I feel worried, hungry, frustrated, feeling inadequate, or whenever I feel like not sleeping, what comes to mind was to grab a stick of gum?
Then it did not just stop there; gum became a solution (typical response) to all my bodily sensations, happy, sad, in and out of the meeting, I would want something in my mouth. What was the answer to stress became the solution to every other thing in my life.
A pattern was formed. At a point, I started having severe pain in my gum, but that did not make me stop chewing and biting gums. Before I knew it, I developed dental cavities that got me removed 1, 2, and 3 and 4 teeth, then I asked myself this question, how did I get there, a point in my life where I can’t just stop chewing gum. How can I get out of this habit? I needed a way out desperately.
To find a way out, I needed to take some steps backward. I needed to know how I got there in the first place, and then I decided to do some research about habit. I realized that constantly or repeatedly grabbing gum as the remedy to alleviate that sensation, my brain was connecting that response to the request, and overtime my brain mastered that pattern.
During the time, the brain was connecting the response to the request, some nerve cells were been activated, and they eventually form a brain circuit. Once the circuit is established, the brain areas involved in the circuit automatically respond in the same way every time a similar situation arises. This causes the circuit to become stronger. It is easier to break a stick than having a bundle.
How do I get out of this habit, then that became my thought? The first step is to be aware of the sensation. Initially, I was not thinking about the sensation and the response, but now I am more deliberate about it. I now easily know when those feelings creep up, I am conscious about how to respond.
Second step- the next thing I did was to redirect the brain to start responding in a positive way to either drink water or munch vegetables-something healthy. As time goes on, I chose to ignore the sensation; after all, I won’t die if I don’t’ do anything it about it.
The third step- is to occupy my mind, avoid every occasion that will trigger that sensation again. I started reading books, watch motivational and inspiring movies and visit friends.
The fourth step I took was to discuss with trusted close friends about my challenge and my desire to get rid of it completely, and what I noticed afterward was that, they too stopped chewing gums and,
Finally, I prayed about it. I needed God to help me out of my predicament.
It was not easy because the brain has learned and mastered that gum is the only remedy for a bad mood, so it took determination, consistency, and patience to get the brain to get accustomed to the right way of response.
No matter what you are addicted to, I tell you that you can break out of it. You are too powerful to allow something minor or little ruin you of your bright future. I was able to get out of my habit because I identified that there was a problem, and that I was the only person who can fix it and made the right choice to be free of it.
You, too, can, if only you can make the decision today, and if you need help, please do not hesitate to talk to close friends, professionals who are experts in dealing with such addictions.
Stay away from every occasion or friends that will remind or tempt you to go back to it. Be disciplined and determined to break out of that addiction. Be inspired.
About the author:
Deborah Egbuonu is the host of the Be Inspired, a platform that focuses on motivating and inspiring both young and old, people of different cultures, backgrounds, education, and sex, to be the best of themselves by maximizing their potentials.
She teaches the basic principles of how people can unleash their gifts and talents, overcoming the internal You Can’t voices to be successful in life. She believes that the best way to maintain success is by creating influence, adding value, inspiring and giving back to society.
Check her YouTube Channel on: Be-Inspired with Debbie Egbuonu