Do you ever wonder how you came to smoke so much or overeat or twirl your hair or grind your teeth or drink so many extra glasses of alcohol? There’s not just one answer to this. There’s a whole spectrum of reasons that are also quite fascinating. So here are some of the reasons why you do certain things day after day, often in excess, more than you’d like. Knowing these reasons is a first step to transforming your habits.
Putting something in your mouth is what you’ve done since the day you were born. At the beginning, this is the way you got nourished and also bonded with your mother. You also received oral gratification through your mouth. How many habits can you think of that are intended to satisfy this basic instinct? When your parents or caretakers wanted to quiet or care for you, they’d put something like a pacifier, breast or bottle into your mouth. You’ve been doing that to yourself ever since. Habits=”binkies”=oral gratification. You can shift this now.
Reminders of the Past
Sometimes your habits take you back to the good old days (or maybe even the bad old days). You want to go back there to blot out the now, so you eat the kinds of cookies your grandmother made or create the smell of smoke your favorite uncle filled the room with. The writer Marcel Prost ate small cakes and tea to remind him of his early days. He soon found that he could remember even without the stimulus.
Changing Your State
Your “state” is your state of mind, and it can even be your state of body or consciousness. How many times have you used food, drugs, alcohol or other substances to shift your state of mind? Most everyone wants to get “high” in some way – though that may mean “happy” to some or “euphoric” to others or “in a stupor” to still more. The main problem with using substances to change your state is that they often have side effects, and also, they work less powerfully over time. There are alternatives.
Compulsive Personality Traits
Some people just like more and more and more. They grab hold of something, and if a little bit is good, a whole lot seems to be even better. Like Mae West said, “”Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” This may not be the case for most people, as too much of a good thing can actually be way too much. But anything can be transformed.
Addictions are a case in which too much of something can be a burden. You can be physically or emotionally habituated to some substance or food, and it then has an open invitation to enter your life whenever it wants to come in and grab hold of you. When the “I’ve had it moment” comes into your life, you then have an opportunity to lock the door of your personal “house” and tell the substance to leave. Then after you clear your “doorstep” with cleansing and new decisions, your visitor finally goes somewhere else.
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