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The Habit Loop: Effectively Losing Your Bad Habits.

The Habit Loop: Effectively Losing Your Bad Habits.

A habit is a fixed way of thinking that leads to automatic behavior. Habits, just like neuroscientists have traced, are formed in a section of the brain called basal ganglia. The prefrontal cortex is however the part that assists in decision making, and this mostly just takes a break when a habit is formed. This is also sure to happen when you are stressed and that is ultimately why it can be hard to control or change a habit that has already been formed.

Habits are mostly carried out when the decision-making part of the brain is not in control and this means that one can exhibit a habit that is not considered, ‘good’ because after all, it is all carried out without our conscious effort. When bad characters become habits, then you certainly have a problem on your hands.

Just like there is an advantage to remembering habits easily, it becomes negative when you possess bad habits that do not healthily benefit you. 

They are certainly not formed overnight and can be very hard to let go of, especially if you do not possess strong willpower but understanding the HABIT LOOP will make it easier for you to do.

This states that there are three stages of a habit: the trigger, the response, and the reward. 

The trigger, which is also called the Cue, puts in motion, a craving. It could simply be a group of friends, a certain place, or even an action, a feeling of tiredness even. The response is what you then proceed to do to satisfy the craving. This is the part that shows the ‘habit. It could be licking a large bowl of ice cream, drinking a cup of coffee, or even lighting a cigarette.

This response then activates a reward, which is the feeling of happiness and accomplishment that comes from indulging in the habit. It is during this stage that dopamine is released. 

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gets our brain hooked and happy and the response helps to release this. It is what influences the pathway of our brains the most, making it hinged on the series of events that would wound you there and want to participate in it again and again.

Let’s take, for example, anytime you go out to a particular restaurant, you end up buying a large bowl of ice cream and you can’t help this even if you are supposed to be on a diet. You lick the ice cream on your way back home. The trigger is the restaurant while your response is buying the ice cream. 

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Well, on changing the response, you can decide that instead of buying ice cream the next time you step out, you can go for something healthier like fruits or a salad. That way, you’ll still get your reward, which is the feeling of happiness you’ll get from eating it on your way back home. 

If for some reason, it gets too impossible to do, it is advised that you stay away from the trigger completely.

Some tricky habits, just like procrastination, may exist. It doesn’t exactly have an identifiable loop or pathway. What should be done in such a scenario is to introduce rewards whenever you can, to focus on your work. Something like candy or a fruit juice, something that would make you happy. When you continue to do this for a while, you would be successful in tricking your brain to remind you to get to work just so it can attain those rewards.

A popular saying states that first, we make our habits, then our habits make us. A good habit can make you while a bad habit can certainly break you that’s why it is important to try to break off from them and the science of the habit loop makes it even more attainable.

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