Quarantine Bad Habits
Let’s face it… The past couple of months haven’t been easy.
Our lives have changed dramatically on a daily basis and many of us are feeling stressed and anxious about what the future holds.
It can be easy to fall into old habits and patterns like stress eating comfort foods, numbing out to too much Netflix on the couch, or having a glass of wine during the day to take the edge off.
While these coping mechanisms might make us feel a little better in the moment, chances are that now that we are a few months into this experience, you might also be a little (or a lot) concerned about the impact this is having on your health.
While there is some joking about the “Quarantine 15” and it might have felt ok in the beginning, you could be concerned that it might snowball into even more weight gained.
Or a few weeks of binging your favorite shows might have felt good but now you can’t remember the last time your really exercised…
If you know a little bit about the brain and behavior, you might realize that the patterns are becoming more deeply ingrained for you and they are becoming more automatic. In particular, habits that trigger a release of dopamine because they are enjoyable are ones that get very ingrained in the brain.
But we aren’t our habits and we can start to use the power of our mind to override those habits.
To start to break old habits, we can use our Prefrontal Cortex, our highest thinking part of our brain, to get out of acting automatically and instead have conscious thought about our choices.
A few ways to change your habits include:
- Figuring out your triggers– where do you get that dopamine surge from and how can you find it in a positive way (i.e. exercise instead of ice cream)
- Using affirmations to help establish new habits. This can be statements like “I choose how I respond to my anxiety and I _______ (different habit you are choosing)” or “I am choosing to face my feelings and know that I can handle them.”
- Boost your serotonin levels which help your Prefrontal Cortex to function properly and override bad habits. Sunlight, exercise, and remembering happy memories are ways to up serotonin.
- Using your thinking brain. Self-awareness is key so write down your goals, put them up in your environment and consciously think of how your life will change for the better with new habits. Use affirmations and visualizations and celebrate small accomplishments!
Be patient with yourself, stay consistent and keep going! You can make the changes you want!
And if you are really wanting to release these habits and create new healthy ones, check out a powerful workshop I’m co-leading with my friend and colleague Mary Lou Rodriguez on May 30th! We are going to dive deep into creating new habits and the workshop includes a group hypnosis session that will dramatically increase your likelihood of success!