Once we have uncovered the underlying needs behind the behavior, we can get to work on breaking the habit. Old, unhealthy habits are more easily broken if they are replaced with new, healthful ones. This is what the psychology world refers to as “replacement behaviors.” Let’s say the old habit of over-eating was an attempt to address the need to feel fulfilled emotionally. What other activities, or habits, will lead to the same goal of emotional fulfillment? The answer will most likely be different for each person. However, some general ideas could be playing with your kids, talking on the phone with a good friend, writing a letter to a loved one, reading the Bible or other inspirational material, listening to uplifting music, exercising, counting your blessings, or creating a personal five year plan.
Our replacement behaviors are unique to our personal preferences, schedule and resources. Here is a list of some potential activities that may work for you... Suggested Replacement Behaviors
Play a game with your children, spouse, SO or friends Read a book (to yourself or another) Go for a walk Call a friend Check your email Close your eyes and count to 10 Breathe deeply; meditate on a positive / motivating word on the exhale Plan your next vacation Do 20 jumping jacks Look at the family photo album Make a family photo album Plan a tasty and healthy menu Make a healthy grocery list Paint your toenails Brush your teeth Try a new hairstyle Let your kids style your hair Go to bed Pray Meditate Cry Laugh Stretch Volunteer to help another Go somewhere remote and yell Turn up the radio and sing along- loudly Dance with the broom Color Play dress up with your kids or fur kids Skip around the block (and entertain the neighbors!) Bake homemade muffins using finely ground oatmeal instead of flour Give healthy baked gifts to neighbors Recite a poem, Scripture or favorite saying Add your new healthy habits to your Journal.
FCCS is directed by Melinda Haynes, MA, California LMFT 102308. Oklahoma LMFT 1153. North Carolina LMFT 2143.