A habit is something you do without thinking. Hair pulling, nail biting, thumb sucking, scratching are all bad habits that we try to break. Every time we catch ourselves doing one of these bad habits, we stop, but eventually we do it again, usually when we are bored or nervous.
Smoking might be the worst habit. Cigarette smoking is an addiction to nicotine, however, the physical addiction to nicotine lasts only a few weeks after stopping. The habit of smoking can last your entire life. Simply trying to refrain from doing something, is NOT an effective method for breaking a bad habit. There are tricks that the professionals use to quickly and easily stop a habit.
Behavioral Modification Therapy
Behavioral modification therapy is something psychologists use to help end their patients’ harmful habits. This therapy includes specific methods such as self-monitoring, behavioral contracting, negative practice, over-correction, aversion training, relaxation training, and habit reversal. For smokers, habit reversal is highly effective.
Habit reversal has been shown most effective with treating nervous habits, like smoking, because the method teaches self awareness. In a study of people that obsessively pulled their hair, half the participants used the method of negative practice, and the other half used habit reversal. Those using habit reversal were twice as likely to stop pulling their hair.
The method is simple. Unconscious habits are usually induced by a trigger or cue. The habit is then performed, the routine. The routine helps relieve the stress, and the relief is a reward. This is called the Habit Loop.
Using Habit Reversal To Stop Smoking
You can quickly stop smoking by using the habit reversal method. The 1st step is to become aware of when you smoke. This means figuring out what it is that triggers you to light a cigarette. A therapist would call this “awareness training.” The next step is to figure out why.
Professionally this method is called a “competing response practice” but put simply it means “do something else.” To be really successful with habit reversal, you have to find a new habit to replace smoking that gives you the same reward as you got from cigarettes. Then all you have to do is perform the new habit each time you feel triggered to light a cigarette. If it is stress relief you are after, find another activity that will help relieve stress such as walking, drinking tea, stretch and breathing.
Ready To Quit Smoking?