We all know how bad habits can be hard to shake and good ones take time to stick. You want to start working out, but you just can’t find the time. You want to stop smoking, but you feel pangs of anxiety the day you start.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works on re-structuring your thoughts and helping you re-evaluate your feelings, thoughts and priorities, either in real-time or in retrospect. In my personal experience, it brings clarity to reveal errors in thinking and sets fact apart from fiction.
Remember: It’s not a quick fix solution and you may need guidance from a therapist in serious cases.
Here are some effective Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques to re-train your brain to knock those bad habits once and for all [They’re Pavlovian and basic in nature, but very effective]:
1. Flick a rubber band when you catch yourself being demotivated & critical
Wear a rubber band around your wrist and when you catch yourself in a negative spiral or bang in the middle of anxiety, lightly flick the band. Recognizing these moments and coming back to the present keeps you from getting caught up in the storyline in your head.
Gradually, you won’t need the band to be mindful when you start believing everything you think.
2. Tap your forehead to stop overeating
They did a study where they induced participants with cravings for their favorite foods. Tapping their forehead seemed to neutralize the craving more than other distractions.
I’ve tried this myself. The moment you tap your forehead, check in with how full you are and look at the bigger picture, you can resist more easily.
Try it yourself.
3. Rewind and play thoughts to overcome mild depression or addictive habits
A common practice among therapists is to recommend patients keep thought logs. That doesn’t mean you have to write down every thought you have, but if there is a nagging worry or a repetitive thought in your mind that bothers you, write it down.
Then counter and simply examine that thought on paper. So, if you’re thinking ‘She didn’t speak to me because she thinks I’m annoying,’ you can pause and reflect on other reasons she didn’t speak to you.
Challenging your assumptions can help you reveal the lies you tell yourself. This is especially helpful if you’re hard on yourself or of an anxious disposition.