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Using Hypnosis for Breaking Bad Habits and their Negative Effects

Do you find yourself mindlessly biting your nails or pouring a glass of wine? Maybe you’ve noticed that your casual smoking habit has become a little more frequent?

We as humans are creatures of habit, with learned behaviours from an early age that fulfill our needs. We then tend to repeat these behaviours when the needs come up, which develops habits. These habits are formed and live within our subconscious minds and are maintained because they become our familiar way of behaving with the expected consequences serving our needs.

Bad habits are just the same. They’re developed as a front to serve our legitimate needs, however they come with negative consequences damaging to our health, emotional well-being, self-image, relationships, career, and so on. The morality of these negative consequences deems these habits “bad”.

How Bad Habits Form and Satisfy Short-term, and their Negative Effects

The needs in which our bad habits are usually formed to satisfy include managing stress, overcoming anxiety, and promoting relaxation.

Four of the primary habits people self-medicate for these needs are habitual smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, and overeating. Nail biting, skin picking, and hair pulling are other subconscious habits usually developed in childhood, as a means for regaining a sense of control or to be noticed if feeling abused, afraid or neglected. Bad habits can also form as a way of self-punishment of someone feeling guilty, ashamed, or worthless.

A bad habit is often formed early in life, when a child learns from negative coping behaviour of the adults, siblings, and caretakers around them. As you may have noticed, children tend to do as we do. Children whose parents smoke, drink, and use other substances to manage their negative emotions and feelings will tend to do the same.

Other times, negative habits can develop more randomly. For example, a specific doll or bear, blanket, or thumb sucking provides positive physical feelings which soothe and comfort a child when left alone. When left alone again, they repeat the calming behaviour, becoming a habitual way of coping, and as they grow up, is dissuaded, if not punished, as unacceptable behaviour.

Bad habits can also form as a coping mechanism toward extreme stress and anxiety in response to sudden dramatic loss, tragedy, onset of fears and phobias, or an overload of responsibility.

No matter how negative the consequences of bad habits are, there is always positive payoff, usually involving a dormancy of fear or pain and/or increased pleasure or satisfaction.

Negative Effects of Bad Habits:

  • Poor self-image

  • Loss of self-respect and self-esteem

  • Diminished physical health

  • Substantial weight gain or loss

  • Loss of energy

  • Sleep problems

  • Social anxiety

  • Isolation

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

  • Depression

  • Impaired sexual desire and function

  • Damaged personal relationships

  • Financial problems

  • Job loss or career unproductivity

Overcoming and Breaking Bad Habits with Hypnosis

Our subconscious accepts the known and fears the unknown, sticking with bad habits, hesitant to give them up because they are known to serve needs. This means bad habits (like addictions to smoking, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and sugar) can be hard to break.

To correct or cure our bad habits, we must first find the trigger of the bad habit and what needs it meets (notwithstanding negative consequences). Then, we need to find a replacement behaviour that satisfies the needs without negative consequences, and best if it has positive effects, like increased self-esteem, feelings of self-empowerment, greater vitality, etc.

Breaking these bad habits with the help of hypnosis can only be possible if you really want to make the change, believe you can make positive changes, and are open to using the tools and techniques consistently.

You also need to take practical action to help break your ingrained behaviour cycle. Are you able to change your environment? Or, if possible, create barriers against your habit and create a support network for yourself.

Don’t forget to be patient and kind towards yourself. Once something becomes a habit, it’s hard to stop. Outside help like hypnotherapy can be a great support and tool.

When you’re under hypnosis, you’re mindful of your actions, due to the focused concentration and relaxation hypnosis creates. As we know, our habits tend to happen subconsciously. Have you suddenly realized you’ve been chewing on your nails? You probably have for a few minutes without even noticing.

With the power of suggestion, we can use the positive reinforcement to help reverse and replace the negative learnt behaviours through hypnosis.


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