Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Habit: usual way of behaviour or a tendency that someone has settled into. 

Whether it’s our morning routine or our night time bed routine that we can’t go to bed until all steps are followed, habits are regular activities done in the same place, same time and with the same people. We are all creatures of habit. 

Unhealthy habits to release stress?

Our brains perform a regular task without thought making them more efficient, most of these habits can be beneficial however often habits can become problematic, especially hard to break habits.  

Do you often go towards a fast food option after a long day at work rather than cooking a healthy meal, or reach for a glass of red wine because the day was that stressful. Many unhealthy habits are created when our body tries to relieve stress.

However it is often these bad behaviours such as drinking, bad eating and excessive screen time that change our brain’s response and reduce its behavioural flexibility. Therefore reducing the way we change our way to respond to new situations or new goals. Due to the brain having a structural and functional change associated with mental rigidity and inflexible behaviours

Modifying habits

Leading to further impairment to our brains capacity to adapt and modify unhelpful behaviours, creating a self-serving cycle where the more we engage in them the harder it is to break them.

Regular activity, quality sleep and healthy diets can help to boost brain health and mental flexibility. And bad habits such as drinking and unhealthy eating result in negative impact on sleep. Increasing sedentary time and decrease activity, taking away habits that improve brain function and overall mood.

Although it is a quick release of stress it can often result in more long term stress, due to stress creating inflexibility. Stressed people often find it difficult to keep long term goals when the need for a ‘quick fix’ is at the forefront of the brain. 

Exercise to break an unhealthy habit

Physical activity and exercise is a way to break this cycle. Firstly as exercise is known to reduce stress levels being an alternative stress reliever. Being able to boost self control over habits through being able to regulate our emotions, improving control over sudden impulses.

Exercise promotes flexibility in the brain, helping people to end the cycle and start to choose healthy options. Breaking a habit is always hard. Especially when you are exhausted and it is easier to lean for that cheat option. By just getting up and moving even for a 10 minute walk you promote a healthy habit. Learning about where to start changing those habits and creating behavioural flexibility is already the first step. So congratulations for reading this article. You are one step closer.

This is caused from an increased tolerance to exercise, resulting in a pain sensitisation reduction. The body releases catecholamines which act as an anti-inflammatory response, therefore targeting areas of inflammation to reduce the pressure. 

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