Saturday, May 17, 2008

Addictions: How to Break Bad Habits

Alcohol, drugs, smoking, and food are what we think of when we hear the word addiction. But, they are not the only things we get addicted to. Oftentimes, other unhealthy habits lead to these more common addictions. That is what I have addressed below:

Alcohol and drug use can lead to problems with addiction if unhealthy or excessive drinking patterns develop. What might start out as social drinking or casual use can soon become a habit. For example, if you drink every time you get together with friends at the bowling alley, it will soon become a habit. That does not necessarily mean it will lead to drinking problems, but I want to address how patterns and habits can develop quickly and easily. This led me to think about how this applies to relationship problems as well as depression, anxiety, and other problems.

Relationship interactions often fall into repeated patterns of behavior. Sometimes it is easy to predict how someone is going to react in any given situation based on previous behavior. And there might not be a good reason to think it will be any different. The behavior has become a habit or dysfunctional pattern. For example, whenever Andy asks for feedback from Kim and she provides some constructive criticism, he gets defensive and accuses her of trying to put him down. Jen does not like to be ignored when she asks Dave to pick up his clothes off the floor, so she gets irritable and short-tempered. Dave asks her to stop nagging him. They end up bickering back and forth. The patterns continue. The tension grows. No one does anything any different so things do not get better until someone decides to do something to break the cycle.

If you have ever struggled with an addiction, you know first hand how difficult it is to break the control it can have on every aspect of your life. And you would most likely want to be free of the addiction. Maybe you do not have problems with drinking, drugs, or smoking. It is highly probable that you know someone who does struggle with these problems. However, I would ask you:

How about negative thinking patterns, disrespect, impatience, angry outbursts, unkindness, criticism, gossip, taking offense, cussing, bitterness, negative self-labeling, pessimism, and the list goes on? Do these things get out of control? Do they become addictive and difficult to break free from? I believe they are, and as a result they contribute to all sorts of emotional, relational, and social problems.

I encourage you to think about any patterns or habits in your life that cause you personal or relational problems. They can be just as serious and destructive as the more commonly known addiction problems. Maybe you never saw it that way before.

For tools on how to replace old habits with new ones, check out activities on how to change the way you think at:

To improve you relationships and communication patterns, I highly recommend the Love and Relationships Workshop. In it you will find helpful activities and information to communicate love in a highly effective way that will significantly improve your relationships.

I love the The motto: Choose happiness now, practice happiness every day, make happiness a lifestyle.

If you want to break some bad habits, I encourage you to take do something about it now. You can make choices to change your lifestyle for the better today!

All the best, Krystal

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