If you don’t smoke or do drugs, you may think you’re clear of bad habits. But what if you bite your nails or pop gum repeatedly ? Bad habits aren’t addictions, they are repetitive, negative behaviours that often start as coping mechanisms. ——–How do you stop doing them ? Habits die hard, it is said. Habits can trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical that’s part of the brain’s reward system. You get positive reinforcement from your brain for performing these habits, so that compels you to keep going. In addition, researchers have found that habits form familiar “neural pathways” in your brain. If a behaviour is routine, this frees your brain to concentrate on other things. But, there are some habits that are the “toughest to break”.
(1) SWEARING : When a character starts swearing on TV or in a movie,, it can be pretty funny. But it’s not so funny in real life. Many people consider “swearing” vulgar, low-class and unprofessional. They see the swearer as lacking in self- control and unable to express himself properly. On the positive side, swearing has been shown to calm a person down and let him express anger without hurting anybody.
(2) GOSSIPING : Gossiping may seem harmless, but it has significant repercussions. In the workplace, “gossip” can be a huge problem because it can lower morale and decrease productivity. Families have been torn apart by secrets that were not supposed to be revealed. Gossip can also be about power. One person has the information the others don’t have and keeps the power by deciding who to share the tidbits with.
(3) GUM SNAPPING : By the time we reach adulthood, we are not normally chewing bubble gum, but the kind that freshens breath. That gum isn’t ideal for blowing bubbles, so some people resort to “snapping” or “popping” it instead. Gum snapping can become an unconscious behaviour used to relieve stress or boredom. However, there are some positives of gum chewing. Researchers found that it made people focus better on tests of mental agility for about 20 minutes.
(4) SNACKING : It is one of the toughest habits to break. and there is a science behind it. Our brains tell us to “snack” because it makes us feel good. Foods high in fat and carbohydrates raise our mood by producing neuro-transmitters serotonin and anandamide. These brain chemicals work with others like opioids that can relieve stress and even physical pain. But these are temporary effects : “the negatives” like feeling sluggish and guilty or even gaining weight, aren’t worth it.
(5) NAIL BITING : Biting your nails isn’t as unhealthy a habit as snacking, but it’s still a bad one. Interestingly, the 5th edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies “nail biting” as a body-focused repetitive behaviour disorder, along with hair twirling and skin picking and relates them all to behaviours of OCD.
(6) PROCRASTINATION : Procrastinators sabotage themselves to avoid something that they don’t want to do. They are the ones who cram all night for a test, routinely pay late fees for bills and buy gifts on the way to the party. The outcome is often poor test marks, wasted money and a late arrival at the event. It’s not about running out of time, it’s about failing to regulate behaviour It’s difficult to understand the motivation behind “procrastination”, but here are a few reasons : *Fear of failure or success *Fear of making a bad decision *Seeking a pressure-fuelled adrenaline rush * Rebelling against controlling parents or other authority figures.