the yellow couch - How to give up a habit

For many of us, kicking bad habits can feel like an ongoing struggle which ultimately ends in disappointment when, yet again, we gradually lose focus of our target and feel ourselves slip back into bad habits.

Despite much well-meaning advice, willpower alone is unlikely to guarantee you long term success. If you truly want to kick a bad habit, you also need to know why changing will make you happy. The challenge is that it may not always be obvious to you. Why do you have this habit? When does it happen? This is how mindfulness can really help you go further with changing a bad habit.

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being in the moment, so that you are paying attention to your thoughts and feelings; it’s also being aware of what’s happening in the world around you, noticing how we react and feel in it.

Connecting with your environment in this way can help you understand what you are feeling and why, which can be incredibly powerful when it comes to making changes. It lets us step back from our hectic daily lives and take a different perspective, understanding our thoughts but not letting them take over.

How mindfulness helps kicks bad habits
To break a bad habit, you need to understand why you have it and its connection between environment, thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness helps us to develop that understanding rather than block it.

Mindfulness helps deal with negative habits because:

• Instead of being worried about your feelings, you take time to notice and understand them
• It allows you to realise there is something going on that needs to be dealt with
• It can build confidence to allow you to accept there is something that needs dealing with
• You learn how to examine thoughts and feelings in a productive way

How can you achieve mindfulness?
The good news is there are many techniques to practice that help develop our ability to be mindful, present in the here and now.

Learning mindfulness mediation techniques is a great start. As a guide, try the following:

• Take five minutes alone with no distractions from other people, pets, phones etc.
• Sitting comfortably, choose an object in your line of sight; notice all aspects of the object (no touching yet!)
• Notice all aspects of the item, its shape, its colour, its texture…
• Now hold it and feel it, noticing the texture, shape, weight, does it feel cool or warm…
• Stay focused on that one item.

Other ways of practising mindfulness include:

• Regularly making an effort to notice your thoughts, feelings and body sensations
• Going for a walk and paying attention to the movement your body and surroundings
• Doing some focused breathing, concentrating on your inhalations and exhalations
• Trying something new (like walking a different way to work) so you can notice the world from a different perspective

Find your happiness
Mindfulness can have a positive effect on our wellbeing but if you’re struggling to find your happiness and continue to battle bad habits without success, working with a hypnotherapist can help you tap deeper levels of consciousness for greater awareness, which can also make mindfulness more fulfilling.

The Yellow Couch is a professional, results-focused hypnotherapy service for introducing a more positive way of thinking to the subconscious mind. We help clients overcome a range of issues including anxiety, phobias, professional development, confidence, public speaking and quitting smoking.

Contact The Yellow Couch now to find out how you can start living a more mindful and less stressed life.