Creating healthy habits requires mindfulness, so that new habit loops can be inserted when a trigger surfaces in your mind.
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A new book by psychiatrist Judson Brewer, Unwinding Anxiety, proposes that anxiety exists in our daily habits, and is not something that simply goes away by breathing exercises.
Our brain is addicted to the habits due to the rewards attached to them, and we need to dismantle and decouple the rewards in order to break free from the habit and eventually the associated anxiety.
The brain labels our actions and behaviour as ‘rewarding’, usually in our formative years. We need to review our behaviour and habits and update the brain’s reward system.
Example: We may be having a habit of eating a lot of cake, since our childhood. Now as an adult, the habit is resulting in a high intake of sugar, without our realizing it.
If we use this method to review and update our reward system, the brain will naturally lose the urge to take the habitual action, something much more powerful than using willpower, which only suppresses the urge.
Anxiety triggers habit loops, but can also be the result of a habit loop (like reading the news online). Constant worrying is also a reinforcing pattern of habit loops.
The reward can be a eureka moment towards a potential solution (which is rare) or a feeling of productivity and passive action, providing us with a sense of control.
We are struggling with anxiety as our habits don’t let us part with it, with the pleasure and pain coming in a package. The habit loop of any habit cycle is:
Review your daily actions and map out the habits that create such loops.
No, we are not over yet. After discussing the topic with my friend’s Dad (he is a doctor), I’ve made a list of things you need to understand and avoid anxiety attacks (hard to breathe moments).
Life could have been easy if people love to share what they have. But the fact that we all are selfish in one way or another has pulled down humanity down in the dumps where almost no one is happy. Why are we like this, why can’t we share the knowledge that we have, power that we possess, the money that we have earned to help someone less unfortunate? Is it because bad things always feel good. But let’s not stray from our main topic and recall what we have learned so far.
Curiosity is a natural phenomenon that helps people move into new experiences, tapping their inherent powers of wonder and inquisitiveness. Curiosity is an ideal positive state of openness and engagement, no matter what our culture or background is.
Curiosity can help us heal our anxiety if utilized in a particular manner.
Prevention is the best medicine. It is really difficult to pull out of negative spirals once we've fallen into them.
Not that pulling out of these problems is impossible. It isn't. But it can be a struggle. Life can be much better if we can creatively avoid these negative cycles in the first place.