Bad habits start in the mind. Our thinking directs our actions. So the key to getting rid of bad habits is to understand your brain. Mindfulness is a great way to help you fight urges. With practice, you can stop habits that are no longer useful to you.
In a recent study, 63 stimulant addicts, were monitored and observed for a 12 week period of time. After four weeks in the program, they were split up into two groups. One of the groups was taught how to practice mindfulness. The other group was not. The mindfulness training was specifically targeted at ending cravings and urges of their addiction. At the end of the 12 week period, researchers found that changes in the participants who practiced mindfulness were more positive than those who did not. The researchers specifically measured the individual’s use of stimulants. Also, they studied their symptoms related to anxiety and depression.
87% of the individuals who practiced mindfulness, stopped using stimulants by the end of the 12 weeks. They also learned how to curb their anxiety and depression.
How Did the Mindfulness Study on Addiction Work?
The study showed that lasting change works much better through support and experience than through education.
They Rewired Their Brains Habit
Mindfulness helps the brain slow down, stopping anxiety. And since anxiety is the cause of many people’s addictions, ending it will usually end the addiction. It helps by creating space that allows people to become more aware of their urges and cravings. They can then work at making better decisions on a regular basis. The bad habit will be simply seen as thinking. Typically, it causes the addiction to lose its charge.
In the moment, is when a snap decision can change everything. The decision can be good or bad, and through mindfulness, people found they were able to make good decisions easier. An addiction can continue or be dissolved in the blink of an eye. It’s the way the brain works. Every time a person makes a new decision, they literally start to rewire their brain for new behaviors.
Mindfulness Increases your Natural Awareness
And over the course of time, the craving will be more of a wake-up call to choose a different response than those that have been chosen previously. Practicing mindfulness will help you select a healthier response than you previously have in the past. Mindfulness can help people stop nearly any bad habit. Whether the habit is interrupting people, stress eating, or more addictive behaviors like drugs, mindfulness can be used to help curb the cravings.
Another bonus of mindfulness is it will actually start to promote healthier wellbeing in general. Everyone has addictive or compulsive behaviors they’d like to change. The steps to improving them are simple.
First, visualize yourself performing whatever the habit is. If for example, you are a stress eater, imagine yourself about to eat because of stress. Ask yourself what type of feelings you’re having. Also, notice the thoughts and see if you can identify the urge to eat as it manifests in your body.
Keeping up with your breathing, be aware of how the feeling peaks and eventually dissipates. Congratulate yourself for taking the time to practice this. It’s a very real act of self-love. Each time you perform this mindfulness practice, you are literally retraining your brain to stop the unwanted behavior.