Habits that affect our lives and Ways to deal with them #CauseAChatter

A momentary impulse, an occasional indulgence, a passing whim may by repetition become a habit difficult to uproot, a desire hard to control, and finally an automatic function that is no longer questioned. By repeated gratification of a desire , a habit is formed and thus habitual conditioning can grow into compulsion – Nyanaponika Thera

We all repeat certain behaviour that is harmful to us, be it on an emotional, mental, spiritual or physical level. We may lie, procrastinate, nail biting, struggle to be punctual, snore, play with our hair, drink too much coffee or smoke twenty cigarettes a day?? Most of us reading this list would have identifies with at least one of the examples. All of these and many not listed , may be irritating or even detrimental to our health in the long run but does ease our tension in the short term.

Why is habitual behaviour is so intrinsic to our existence? Until now we have denied or ignored our habits, but as we understand that their is mind body connection , we have to acknowledge that there must be a connection between what we do physically and what we feel emotionally.

Issues with people and circumstances that causes strong emotions upsets or balance of emotions and that’s when we are more likely to experience mood swings, instability and persistence negative emotions.

How habits are formed?

Certain emotions which triggered certain behaviour when done repeatedly converts it into a permanent habit. Therefore behaviour has become ingrained response to a particular state of being and follows as a cycle. Lets take an example.

A housewife who is experiencing anger towards her husband, whom she experience as abusive and belittling. This causes huge resentment and anger. She does not want to accept the fact that her relationship is unhappy and that there s a serious problems in the home. She wants everything appears to be just fine. Literally, on the surface everything needs to look good. So she cleans and re-cleans to make everything sparkle- except of course herself, who is actually far from sparkling. Lets understand her cycle: Trigger emotions that makes her feel guilty. Not expressing her anger and allowing her husband’s words to make her feel small leads to self-esteem issues. This makes her sad and she loses her self confidence. The truth is that she is still not honest with herself and stay in a denial mode as in there is no problem in the relationship. As a result performing the habit makes her feel better as at least she can do something well and feel some sense of achievement and things appears to look all right on the surface. There are number of habits out of which i will be taking about those which seriously affects our lives and we are not even aware about it.

There are certain habits that seriously affect our lives

In spite of overwhelming proof that these habits can do more harm , most of us do indulge in at least one of them on regular basis. Why? Because they make us feel good while we are doing them.

Self Harming

Self harming is a way of dealing with emotional pain in a physical way. A history of abuse is most often the prime cause, be the abuse emotional, physical or sexual. Most of the time dismissed by the people who call this as an attention seeking behaviour. That’s the reason majority of self-harmers are secretive about their habit. Self-harmers are often understandable angry at the situation yet feel unable to do anything about it. In this case a person feels that they have little or no control in the outside world, harming gives one a feeling some degree of control, even if it causes harm to themselves.

When the emotional pain becomes so intense that we unable to feel and deal with it, harming our self physically becomes only way to deal with it. There are a number of different techniques which can be used to stop self harming:

  • Yoga and deep breathing exercise
  • Finding an outlet as a punch-bag to vent out anger on such as a sport
  • Keeping a journal and recording your feelings
  • Removing potential self harming objects
  • Starting to learn to talk to others about how you feel
  • Using ice cubes and holding them- its painful but not harmful

Skin picking

Skin picking results from a build up emotional stress and anxiety, which is relieved through picking. It is also a habit that involves much shame and guilt, which is why people seldom admit that they do it and seek help. The skin consists primarily of boundary and communication aspects (how we interact with out side world). Digging and picking into it is a way of getting to what;s under our skin that is what is bugging us. This picking relieves boredom, anxiety, sadness as emotional stress.

Issues with the skin are an indication that we do like, that we are showing to the world about ourselves. We somehow want or feel that we should be less flawed and we we seek to rectify the problems by picking at our faults, which makes us feel better when we are doing it, but guilty and shameful afterwards.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is commonly used a means to understand the emotions triggers to this problem. Once these are understood , alternative coping strategies are adopted like , using gloves or bandage to reduce sensory urge , enrolling in web base programs which involves commitment that aims to help you reach a greater understanding of the problem and to work to heal it. Taking a professional help is advisable.

Shop lifting

For each shop lifter there is a different underlining cause. For some it occurs as a result of professional activity, for some it could be a thrilling experience, for some its like they have an entitlement , as if society rules don’t apply to them and they believe themselves to be above other people, laws and rules. Some people do it due to socio-economic issues as they are deprived of attention, material requirements and love as a children. And there are some habitual shop-lifters, for them stealing is both thrill and an opportunity to take revenge on a society which they perceive has failed or wronged them. Another category is of Kleptomaniacs, they do not plan to steal and commonly take items for which they have little use.

How can you stop this? Realise that what you are doing is very harmful. Should you be caught, you may face a prison sentence or community service. Stealing is no way to retaliate against a society where the law is upheld. If you are tempted , visualize yourself being apprehended and the effect that this would have on yourself and on those you love. There may be underlining problems, such as depression, that are provoking you to steal. Get help before you are caught or find any other positive activity to replace stealing.

Hair pulling

While shame and guilt must be the overriding result of hair-pulling. Tension and frustration are its main causes. we feel flawed and therefore afraid to voice who we really are, for fear that those shortcoming will be revealed. Our shame act as an inner critic, telling us that we aren’t worthy of being listened to, that we aren’t bright enough, pretty enough or knowledgeable enough for our needs to be expressed. Our guilt and shame about our hair pulling, then, confirms this assumption. Feeling inadequate and constantly giving in to the will of others at the expense of our own creates huge tension which we relieve through hair-pulling.

There are few healing strategies one can adopt for example Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where in people are taught to identify the trigger points and then substitute the impulse with other, less harm full habits. Another way to deal with this is by simply interrupting their hair-pulling by putting bandages on their fingers or keeping records and journals of their need to pull and when and how it is triggered. There are some medical treatments available which can be adopted. Support groups have been very helpful, as simply knowing that they are not alone.

Can you change your habits? The answer is yes you can if you are determined…

The first and the foremost thing which you need to do is identify what triggers these habits. Follow few steps by answering these questions

  • Write down a habit which you would like to overcome and set a time limit for this.
  • Review the last three times you have exhibited that habit.
  • How did you feel emotionally, before performing the habit.
  • How did you feel physically.
  • How did the habit make you feel afterwards.
  • Is there a pattern.
  • How do other people respond.
  • What is the outcome of performing your habit.
  • What is it, that triggers your habit.

Having gained insight into what really triggers your behaviour, you need to look at ways in which you stop doing what you do.

Three ways to Stop these negative habits

Substitution

In this you substitute your behaviour with less harmful practice, for example you cannot stop snacking on chocolate, so before urge occurs, you have made the decision to substitute chocolate for fresh fruits, which you have to made sure is handy. Each victory, no matter how small, affirms the one to come. This substitution method works really well for most physical cravings.

Interruption

Our negative behaviour often occurs unconsciously. But once we become aware of what triggers the behaviour , we can decide on another action to take, before we do whatever habit it is we want to indulge in. For example if you often find yourself having too many cups of coffee, make a rule of having long glass of water, another example, if you know you get angry on particular situation, make a rule to count till 10. Such interruptions not only make us more aware of when we are acting in a particular manner, but by the time we have done them, they often also alleviate our need to act in that way altogether.

Affirmations and goal setting

Goal setting for your behaviour is a wonderful way of affirming your progress as well honestly identifying your downfalls. The key is not to focus on those days when things went wrong but to affirms those days you stuck with your plan. Affirmations are wonderful way of enhancing the process. By repeating the phrase you have decided upon, make it more of a reality. Make sure your affirmations are positive and is spoken in present tense, as if the desired behaviour is already been achieved.

These strategies will definitely work if you believe in yourself.

This post is part of Blogchatter #CauseAChatter

@SwatiMathur

Picture Courtesy /Edit : Pexels /Canva

Emotional Health During Pregnancy – How to Look and Feel Good Series #CauseAChatter

In this series , I have talked about how to look good now let focus on how to feel good during Pregnancy.

Pregnancy can be overwhelming but if you are struggling to be happy than remind you, you are not alone. On other hand, if you find pregnancy to be your happy time than their are lot of women who enjoy this phase in their life too.

Experiencing vast range of emotions during pregnancy is quite normal. It’s is not easy being pregnant but it is also not that miserable that you cannot find happiness. While it is wonderful to feel happy during pregnancy but there are some external circumstances that can influence the way you feel this includes your financial status, whether you have a committed relationship, whether your pregnancy was intentional, age of the people involved and if their is any pre – existing mental and physical health conditions.

But why is it that some people are able to stay happy during their pregnancy while other’s find it difficult to handle their emotions. What can we do to remain happy during pregnancy?

Tips to Remain Happy During Pregnancy

Spend time with your loved ones

The more you surround yourself with the people you love and want to be with, the more positive you will feel about the whole situation. Try avoiding people who pushes you towards negativity or stress. Women adjust better during the transition to motherhood when they have satisfying and authentic relationships. As gratifying as motherhood can be it is inevitably taxing , so positive self affirmations and appreciation from people around you makes it easier to deal with it.

Spend time engaging in mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness have innumerable benefits. It helps in reducing stress, aids in controlling anxiety, improves sleep, have controlled blood pressure, reduces pain, enhances self awareness, promotes positive outlook and makes you more kind towards other’s and yourself.

Connect with other expecting parents

Supporting and authentic relationships make a big difference in happiness during your pregnancy and the journey of parenthood. Sharing similar feeling and situations will aids you with solutions and guides you to to deal with unknown situation you might face during pregnancy. You will feel better to know that you are not alone sailing in this boat of pregnancy and you can take comfort that someone truly understands what you’re going through.

Exercise

We all know whether you are pregnant or not exercise has an ability to affect your mood positively. It helps in reducing anxiety and feelings of depression. Medically exercise not only bring feelings of happiness, but help reduce feelings of pain. Though it is important that you do not engage in any intense exercise without proper doctor’s guidance.

Eat healthy

A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy life style at any time but especially vital if you are pregnant. Eating well can keep your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at healthy levels to reduce the incidence of complications. Eating healthy foods can also help prevent or treat common pregnancy maladies, such as morning sickness and leg cramps. When a women is away from all this complications and sickness she ought to feel good.

Sound Sleep

Pregnancy is a magical time in many ways, but sleep schedule during these nine months might be less than dreamy. The growing belly, the aches, the pains, the heartburn ,many women experience sleepless nights long before there’s a hungry, crying infant in the picture.

Pen down your thoughts, maintain a journal

Record how you feel and what you experience as it make beautiful lifetime memories which you can cherish for a long long time. This is like a stress buster as there are lot of things which you hesitate to share with others or experience you want to keep it to yourself can be written and revisited if that makes you happy.

Detach from Technology

We all know the usage of electronic gadgets like a cell phone or laptop is inevitable today. Although, we cannot avoid them completely but being informed of the radiation from these devices on children and pregnant women are necessary. The radio waves emitted from these gadgets may alter the DNA structure of growing fetus and unlikely mutations are possible. Too much usage also harm eyes and can be very stress full. Therefore Walks in fresh air and reading books are more holistic approaches to relaxing during pregnancy and keeping both mother and baby healthy.

A pregnant women exposes her child to all the experience she goes through. This includes the sounds in the environment, the air you breathe, the food you eat and the emotions you feel. When you feel happy and calm, it allows your baby to develop in a happy, calm environment. However, emotions like stress and anxiety can increase particular hormones in your body, which can affect your baby’s developing body and brain. It is normal to have occasional negative thoughts, dreams or fleeting doubts. With any new or difficult situation, sometimes you are able to cope with the challenge, and sometimes you can feel overwhelmed. So all I can say from my own experience is take each day at a time and do not get bogged down by new situations and feelings. Just remember one thing you are not alone.

This post is part of Blogchatter #CauseAChatter

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawlaand generously SPONSORED BY Bugshield Clothing – Enjoy Outdoors More!

@Swati Mathur

What is Empathy Gap ? Ways to Deal With It #CauseAChatter

The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences.Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “Cognitive empathy,” sometimes called “perspective taking,” refers to our ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.

Have you ever felt that someone doesn’t have the same feelings toward you as you have toward them or struggled to predict how you will act when you are angry about something, if we’re currently calm or unable to feel the same pain which other person is undergoing when you are at peace and can only think rationally?

Yes, this happens when we misjudge our own emotions or behaviour and this is what Empathy Gap is all about.

Empathy Gap means when you are in certain mental state for example happy or angry, you are unable to understand the perspective or predict the action of someone who is in a different mental state. For example if you are on diet and currently full, the empathy gap will unable you to access how well you will be able to handle the temptation to eat when you are hungry.

Empathy Gap is one of the cognitive bias where a person finds it difficult to understand their mental state which is different from their present mental state or struggle to understand how such states effect people’s decision making.

Therefore I won’t be wrong in saying that empathy gap has serious implications when it comes to interpreting and predicting people’s behavior, including your own, so it’s imperative to understand it so that we know how to deal with it.

Empathy gap can appear in variety of situations

  1. When it comes to misjudging our own emotions and behaviours . Lets understand this with few examples, When a person is calm, they overestimates their ability to stay composed in stressful situation or when a person no longer have feelings for another person they generally underestimate how much their feelings for that person affected their judgment in the past.
  2. When it comes to misjudging the behaviour and emotions of others . Here a person struggle to understand why someone who is nervous about something acted the way that they did, if we don’t share their feelings on the topic or struggle to see that someone doesn’t necessarily have the same feelings toward us as we have toward them.
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