(part 2 )
If habits start as choices that we made at one time, it stands to reason that at some point in time it becomes a habitual behavior. We just continued with the behavior and or thought pattern without really thinking about it and it becomes habitual. If we take this premise and realize it was learned in the first place therefore it can be unlearned.
Ex: You notice you heart is beating a little fast, that starts the chain reaction – you begin to have fear of a catastrophic health problem – that thought creates an adrenaline rush and you end up in panic attack. However, you are not really in any physical danger. The pulse does change it is supposed to change for many reasons we read the blog about your pulse. This repetitive worry that initiates with any time you start to worry about your pulse creates a habit. This is an emotional roller-coaster, and your rehearsed response, or habit sets off your – reaction/ behavior. This in turn that will set off an adrenaline surge or multiple surges.
This is why you need to break that habit and replace it with one that promotes your health and well being.
We had talked about the role of repetition had in creating the response in the first place. It is l logical to assume that the longer and more frequent we have had a bad habit unlearning can take a bit of time but if we do it with our conscious mind you have the upper hand. Over the next few blog posts we will share some ways to speed up the process of riding yourself of detrimental emotional and behavioral habits. We have already laid some groundwork. Check out the steps to freedom tab. I like to think of it as having a toolbox full of the knowledge to become free form mental torment.
It is not only those with panic and anxiety that can benefit from an understanding of these concepts but those with various mental torment, depression and some addictions as well any emotion you give credence to and keep in the forefront of your mind will actually establish an emotional habit that in turn will manifest itself as a behavior.
Therefore it is important that you not only look at your negative behavioral habits but your negative emotional or mental habits as well. We are not going to get into the science of how this works as in the basal ganglia and the prefrontal cortex. Just suffice to say, as a behavior is repeated such as in the fear in health anxiety whatever the source, your brain recognizes our response it goes into the instant replay loop. So even though you may consciously be aware that it will end badly, your brain no longer retains this important bit of information. Science Daily covers this in some detail and introduces the concept of having a cue to change habits. I will mention that having a specific cue to help you replace old habits is crucial to quickly they can be replaced. We will discuss this in another post.
Since habits make up about 40 % of our daily habits when you struggle with anxiety disorders these concepts are important to understand. We learn our initial responses through associative learning. Through repetition that will become your habitual response.
Associative learning is a form of conditioning, a theory that states behavior can be modified or learned based on a stimulus and a response. … Much like conditioning, associative memory can be called upon based on the relationship between two stimuli.
Habitual Learning is a result of repetition. Repeating something many times creates habits.
NOW On to the Role of the IMAGINATION!
This topic could be a book in itself. Let me give you just the basics.
We grow up pretending to be this or do that. The role of imagination in child development is well documented. There re many good resources out there. Let’s find out how we can apply our imagination in combating anxiety.
I am going to really simplify this.
This is a basic concept of any networking group training. You dream of the big house, the fancy car, dream of success, You post photos, of what you want on the frig on the bathroom mirror – why because it changes the way you think and approach problems You become an over comer.
A favorite book of mine is Psycho–Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I was impressed by the story of a group of high school students that were divided into 3 groups. None of the students played basketball. For a specific period of time one group did nothing. One group practiced every night making baskets, the third group, were instructed to use their imagination to visualize making baskets. Anyway, the group that did nothing still could not make baskets. However, the group that imagined making the baskets improved just as if they had practiced.
You see it has been proven and widely accepted that when the imagination is used effectively and with enough repetition, the body loses the ability to discern whether the action took place or was just perceived in the imagination.
Here is an article from medical News today that explains:
How your imagination can help you overcome your fears
Replacing old anxiety habits takes a little work but is well worth the effort.
This is an important concept for you to understand if you want to become free. Part 3 will cover.
- What is a cue when it comes to derailing existing negative habits?
- How to reward your successes!
- How to use your own voice speaking out loud as a cue to replace old habits.