Habit Formation: Desperately Seeking Freedom
Isn't it strange that, despite knowing something is bad for us, we sometimes feel compelled to keep doing it? Most smokers, if asked, would tell you they want to quit. Drug and alcohol abusers have a similar struggle. Within our contemporary context of relative abundance, overindulgence on food can also become yet another engrained habit.
What happens in the brain as habits are formed?
According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Understanding the biology of how we develop routines that may be harmful to us, and how to break those routines and embrace new ones, could help us change our lifestyles and adopt healthier behaviors." Habits arise through repetition. We can drive home on mental autopilot without thinking about the directions. "When behaviors become automatic, it gives us an advantage, because the brain does not have to use conscious thought to perform the activity," Volkow says.
Whether our habits are useful or not they develop in the same fundamental way, and understanding this process can help us transform bad habits into good ones. Often we're blinded by the illusion of pleasure (or short-lived pleasure), which makes the habit much harder to break. We get hooked on the sensory
experience, despite its short and transitory life, often at the cost of our health, our relationships, or the guilt and frustration that may follow. Thus we can say that our brain is working against us when we struggle to overcome bad habits.
Through hypnosis we can awaken the higher mind. From its innate clarity, it becomes easy to make better choices and develop new patterns. Someone was telling me that before eating an extra treat, she thought "If I don't eat it, I might be missing something." Through our hypnosis sessions, she realized that what
she'd be missing is the weight gain, guilt, and negative repercussions on her health! Once she made the connection, she could obliterate this thinking pattern and regained control.
The way monkeys are caught in India is comparable to how we can lose control of our rational mind. To trap and relocate the animals, Indians place a piece of fruit in a container with a neck that's large enough for a monkey to squeeze in his empty hand. Once he's grasped the fruit, however, he can't pull his hand
back out. The monkey will desperately try to free himself, but even at the approach of his captors, his efforts are futile. The more afraid he becomes and the harder he tries, the more powerfully he grasps the fruit that binds him to his predicament. Sometimes our human predicament is just that. We keep looking
for a solution while clinging to the problem. Accessing our deeper awareness enables us to simply drop the fruit and escape, to let go. How empowering that is!
I've been working in the field of meditation and stress management for decades. Nothing comes close to the power of hypnosis when helping to free people from their harmful habits—and in an impressively short period of time! It simply requires being ready and wanting the change, giving ourselves the permission to be free. We have the power to expand towards abundance, success, freedom, and love, if we choose to.
Hypnosis is the gentlest process I know of to awaken this energy.
Lynne Cardinal is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists, holding additional Certifications in Hypnosis Innovative Techniques and Weight Loss. She has a PhD in Eastern Philosophy and is a Stress Management and Meditation Coach. Lynne is also certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Insurance receipts are available.
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