Breaking bad habits with mindfulness: learn to make good choices

Breaking bad habits with mindfulness: learn to make good choices


  • 1 Bad habits
  • 2 What is the practice of Mindfulness?
  • 3 Benefits of Full Care
  • 4 Fight addictions with Mindfulness

Bad habits

Actions can cause us problems in many ways. Every day we make hundreds of choices that affect our own well-being and that of those around us. It turns out that a lot of sufferings come from the consequences of bad habits. Some of those consequences are external while others are internal.

How to make more sane decisions? The first step is Realize that we are making choices.

With Mindfulness practice we can better notice what we do when we are doing it.

Most of us hate each other for the way we feel inside when we fail to live up to our expectations. Guilt and shame steal us and involve even more misconduct.

What is the practice of Mindfulness?

When we practice mindfulness of the present experience with acceptance, we realize that a remarkable variety of noble and not so noble impulses can get into the mind.

If we pay attention to our own experience, we will notice that harmful behavior creates waves of disturbance in the mind. Thus, thanks to full awareness, we make healthier and more sensible decisions (and minimize the pain of doing the opposite) because we are more sensitive to the subtle effects of these decisions.

Certain mental states tend to follow certain actions, which naturally leads us to more ethical and skillful behavior.

The practice of mindfulness helps us to see that behavior is in our own interest in a correct and compassionate way.

The challenge is to develop sufficient continuity of full awareness to remain aware of the aforementioned cause-effect relationships.

By highlighting the pain caused by our unshakable behavior, full awareness motivates us naturally to do the right thing.

Benefits of Full Care

By practicing full awareness it also helps us to See the benefits derived from correcting errors. When we respond to our apprehension for what we have done by putting things back in place, we notice a relief from bearing that heavy burden. This becomes a motivating reinforcer to put things back in place. Making these adjustments over time can relieve some of the fear, guilt and shame.

Behaving in a sensible and ethical way becomes an easier thing over time. With mindfulness, we see again and again that unskillful behavior almost always comes from seeking gratification. Trying to grab our pleasure and avoid pain can lead to relevant clinical problems. (depression, anxiety, chronic pain, failed relationships, etc ...), but it can cause subtle suffering in a succession of small moments.

So, when we go through life deceiving others in small doses, we are living a world in which we also hope to be deceived.

Seeing that greedy behaviors cause suffering and that pleasure and pain will come and go regardless of what we do, it is easier to play fair and be generous to others.

Selfish behavior once we understand it does not make us feel better for a long time.

Often on the theoretical level we have clear choices leading to greater well-being for all, but we continue to have problems to act accordingly. It's funny to see how many times are we enslaved by our immediate desires.

We have trouble making sensible choices about food, exercise, sleep, drinking, drugs, smoking, playing (with money), shopping, surfing the internet, telling the truth, working, love relationships and sex, To name just a few.

Intoxicants play a very important role in our lives. Much of the abuse of intoxicating substances is intended to cushion one experience and enliven another.

Fight addictions with full attention

We all use the intoxicating substances to modify unwanted mental states.

The practice of mindfulness can help us see how and why we take drugs.

Mindfulness practices help to interrupt patterns of excessive drinking or drug use by making us see why we use intoxicating substances and helping us to remain aware of their effects once we have started.

The change in drugs, the joke of: “How many psychologists do you need to change an electric bulb? Only one, but first the bulb has to want to be changed”.

Before possible relapses, once a month of consumption has been stopped, relapse prevention based on mindfulness is established.

They are taught to employ the practice of mindfulness to remain alert and aware of the critical points at which they could abuse again.

Participants use the practice of mindfulness to explore the desire they feel, noting the thoughts, feelings and situations that serve as triggers. They adopt the habit of practicing full awareness in high-risk situations, which could lead to abuse. Participants are also taught to notice that thoughts: come, go and change without stopping, so they do not need to define reality. Using the practice of mindfulness to be with difficult feelings, participants are helped to see that these are actually tolerable and that it is not necessary to go to alcohol or drugs To make them disappear.

One way to improve these participants is to realize that the urgencies to react to the urge to consume are like waves that we can learn to surf.

IF we have used intoxicating substances to escape from difficult emotions in the past, we will develop the conditioned response of craving these substances whenever painful emotions or difficult situations arise.

Instead of acting on the urgencies, what we do is surf the urgencies. By doing that, we finally undo the association between difficult experiences and substance use, making it easier to surf the urgency next time.

The work, the game, the purchases and the sex They are also there to give us problems. Each of these things lends itself perfectly to compulsive behaviors derived from our desire to avoid unpleasant experiences, compulsive behaviors that often cause us suffering.

Ana Tostado