The Stress Habit

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

Habit is the development of a behaviour pattern until it almost becomes involuntary.

The “almost” in that definition is important. It implies that because it is not involuntary, you can have control over the habit. It is difficult to arrest your bad habits, if you are unaware of them. Some may be innocuous like twiddling your thumbs when you worry. Other habits, like clicking your teeth during a presentation, or seasoning your speech with “you know,” detract from your message. (Incidentally, if you wish to improve your speaking abilities, consider joining Toastmasters International. They specialize in being budget-friendly, non-threatening and encouraging.)

Some habits can be dangerous or disruptive to life - yours or that of your family. Stress is a good example of this. It not only impacts your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being, but it can also stain the lives of those around you.

Stress can become a habit. Endless looping thoughts such as worrying about things that never come to pass is both a sign and a symptom of stress. That hamster-wheel of circuitous thoughts elicit a cascade of stress hormones. The side effects from those stress hormones can lead to another round on the "hamster wheel," leading to more looping thoughts. No wonder you're so tired all the time! Unwittingly, you practice this behaviour until it becomes a habit that becomes your default setting.

Worrying is not the only stress-related habit. You may find your patience at a minimum and give up on projects when you haven't given them, or yourself, a fair shot. Or you may have developed the habit of anger – erupting over matters that are insignificant, but at the time, seemed hugely important.

When you balance your nervous system, you are better-positioned to look at your habits. The ones you wish to cultivate and those you wish to eliminate.

“Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as are bad habits.” - Robert Puller

Which good habits do you maintain? Do you ever wonder why you are able to maintain your good habits? It's likely that you maintain them because you value them.

Rather than fighting to break a bad habit, commit to replacing it with one that is more resourceful - one that adds value to your life. Grow some good habits and weed out the bad ones. This is much easier to do when you practice stress transformation on a regular basis.

Speaking of habits - if you value your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health, stress transformation skills need to be incorporated into your self-care practice.

One of the keys to making or breaking your habits is to learn about how stress impacts your habits, whether they be good or bad habits.

Email to find out more about the program options I have available: D.I.Y. stress programs, group sessions or one-on-one coaching.

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