The Benefits of our Bad Habits

We are made up of parts, almost individual little people that have their own wants, desires and needs. It’s a bit crazy to say but the reality is that its closer to the truth that us humans being one wholesome uncomplicated unit with one set of drivers.

When I smoked cigarettes it was almost as if I had multiple personally disorder. There was the part of me that wanted to go outside and have that cigarette and there was another part of me that wanted to quit and would say things like:

“You don’t need to have that cigarette”
“You’ll regret it and feel guilty”
“Stay inside”

And then I’d have that cigarette.

I would have these internal discussions and arguments inside my head and would often wonder how the part of me that represented logic and reason would never seemingly prevail. That it was always the smoking part that won. Or the eating or the drinking part for others.

For most that ‘bad’ part represents a benefit – that it holds onto that behaviour because there’s a positive pay off, seemingly a ‘benefit’.

At the end of the day many smokers have a cigarette as a way of ‘calming down’. It doesn’t really calm them down, it simply has been associated with a sense of relief that the day is over – this association is the benefit that that part fears losing and thus advocates to the smoker (often unconsciously), to continue to smoke.

Another part of me that told me to continue to smoke would tell me that I wouldn’t enjoy socializing as much if I did stop.  That somehow I wouldn’t appreciate those moments in the same way without the two thousand odd chemicals that go with smoking. Of course, its only when you do stop smoking permanently that you realise that those moments socializing with friends and family are infinitely better as a normal person, a non smoker.

One of the objectives of hypnosis is to align these parts, to have them let go of the ‘benefits’, and to drop the negative behaviour.

If you’re looking at making a change, with or without hypnotherapy, look underneath the surface of the behaviour. How does it benefit? How will I replicate the benefits? Do I need to make any other changes that will make this change more streamlined or easier?

Let’s use a fictional chocolate addiction as an example – many people have a chocolate addiction. They eat chocolate at night and sometimes throughout the day.  Lets say for this example I had one.


How does it benefit?

It emotionally comforts me. It gives me a little sugar buzz. I start thinking more positive thoughts. It’s anchored to better feelings. It helps me avoid negative thoughts and feelings.

How will I replicate the benefits through a more positive means?

I can get similar benefits doing things that I perhaps did when I was younger, or hobbies I’ve forgotten I actually like. Eg. Painting, gardening, online learning, building a website etc. I can increase my levels of protein to help support this decreased sugar diet.

What are other changes could be made to support this change?

Ending or accepting what causes you stress (see stress release exercise), exercise or meditation.

The process of change is far easier with hypnotherapy, but the process is much clearer if the client has an understanding of the respective ‘benefits’ of their vice.

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