You’re here probably because you’ve been meaning to find ways on how you can overcome an addiction or habit of yours. Contrary to popular belief, bad habits and addictive behaviors are not symptoms of illnesses. People engage in bad habits when they seek to alleviate pain and return to their natural state of mental well-being. Thus, addictions and habits actually indicate how mentally healthy you are. Most people are fundamentally healthy and calm on a deep, spiritual level, but their negative thoughts cause them to believe otherwise.
You suffer when you give in to urges and addictions, but you are still making the best choices you know how to make for yourself. Gaining insight into these urges will help you make healthier choices in a way that feels effortless and natural. People often give their negative urges too much power. They regard their habits as a reflection of who they are as human beings. But, habits are not a part of your identity. They are responses to misguided thoughts that pass through your mind. Your habit may dominate your thoughts, emotions and behaviors, but your habit says nothing at all about your basic nature– that part of you that is always there and always true, underneath your surface thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
When you realize your habits are temporary actions, not an innate part of you, you become less likely to give in to negative urges. Rather than react impulsively to negative thoughts that push you to engage in a harmful habitual behavior, you can acknowledge the urge as a passing thought. Becoming aware of the temporal nature of thought will weaken your urge to succumb to a habit.
Your lower brain forms the thoughts that tell you to act out a bad habit. This primal part of your brain connects to your impulse for survival. Some refer to it as the “reptilian” brain or “inner lizard.” When the lower brain pushes you to engage in a habit, the push feels powerful because your brain mistakenly associates your habit with the things you need to have to survive, like water or food. But lower-brain signals to indulge in a bad habit can make you uncomfortable. Physical tension in your body often accompanies the negative thoughts that such signals generate.
Willpower isn’t an effective tool for overcoming bad habits. Relying on willpower alone to end a habit can reinforce it instead. For instance, if you want a doughnut and start to debate with yourself about whether to eat one, you’re giving your thoughts about doughnuts more power. When you attempt to use willpower to overcome an urge, you end up thinking about that urge even more and creating a stronger neural pathway to that habit.
Overcome An Addiction Or Habit
Each time you engage in a habit, the urges associated with it grow stronger. You effectively teach your brain to reinforce your habits every time you give in to them. First, you experience thoughts that push you to act on a habit. Then, obeying those thoughts prompts your brain to wire together the thought and the habit. This strengthens your urges on a neurological level.
Instead, view your urges as an early detection system that lets you know when you are succumbing to negative thoughts. You can break a habit by being mindful of your urges and letting them pass. This is self-directed neuroplasticity. If you don’t act on your urges, they grow weaker in time.
You react differently to thoughts from your lower brain. Often, when your lower brain triggers impulses to carry out a bad habit, you don’t feel calm or mentally healthy. Your lower brain is repetitive and triggers the same negative thoughts again and again. Recognizing these negative thoughts as junk weakens their power over you.
Spirituality and neuroscience aren’t diametrically opposed. Use both to your advantage. To overcome an addiction or habit, tune in to your innate spiritual self. This will help you to view your urges as fleeting and to understand that you are already healthy at your core.
Familiarize yourself with spiritual psychology’s three principles. These three tenets will help you gain the power you need to change your behavior for good–
- Universal Mind is the creative and intelligent energy from which all life originates.
- Thought is the vehicle humans use to gain knowledge about the world around them.
- Consciousness is the ability to experience life directly as it happens.
Thought and consciousness enable people to have positive experiences. If you wander too far away from Universal Mind– which forms the core of who you are– you can get caught up in negative experiences. Experiencing thought and consciousness are part of what makes you human but don’t neglect your spiritual side. Practicing mindfulness helps you to connect to your spiritual core and weakens your attachment to the thoughts telling you to obey your urges.
Insight, Not Information
Insight and information are two different things. You can grasp information intellectually, but that’s not the same as having a deep insight. Gaining insight, as opposed to learning, will help you overcome an addiction or habit. While a person acquires information actively, gaining insight is a passive, natural experience.
You can’t force insight, but you can be open to it. An insightful moment causes you to see your habit from a different perspective on a deep level and enables you to overcome it naturally. The wisdom required to break your habit is already inside you. Calming your mind can help you open it to new insights. Tapping into your inner wisdom is easier when chaotic thoughts and anxieties aren’t assaulting your thoughts.
See The World Through The Eyes Of A Child
To overcome an addiction or habit, it requires changing your perspective on it and no longer viewing your thoughts and feelings as something the outside world causes. Your state of mind originates within you. Thus, true change must happen on a deep inner level.
Try seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Children live in the moment and don’t dwell obsessively on their thoughts as adults do. Children don’t think about their thinking. Kids can usually bounce back from being upset and find ways to make a situation enjoyable, perhaps creating games on the spot. They simply feel what they feel and move on.
To embrace the present, rid yourself of negative thoughts from your past. When you keep rehashing old thoughts associated with your habit, you’re not living in the present; you’re needlessly causing yourself pain. Rather than clinging to painful memories, clear your mind and open yourself to the new possibilities the future brings.
You may overcome an addiction or habit but still feel unhappy. When it comes to well-being, a rigid mindset about health and wellness won’t help. Listen to your inner wisdom and not to third parties who claim to know what’s best for you. True happiness doesn’t come from getting healthier, living habit-free, going on your dream vacation or achieving your life goals. It comes from being mindful of the present moment and living a life of contentment.