Over-eating, inactivity and the desire to quit are, at least in part, learned behaviors. That is very good news because it means that these behaviors can be unlearned. While we unlearn our old, unhealthy behaviors, we will learn new healthy, productive behaviors, one at a time.
In our healthy mind-body journey, we may want to ask ourselves some questions: - What needs do our unhealthy habits fulfill? - Is the habit simply a misguided attempt to fulfill a healthy need, such as the need to be comforted, the need to reduce stress, or the need to belong? - Or, is the habit a result of faulty programming or internalized criticisms, such as a need to validate feelings of inferiority, to feel guilty, or to play the role of victim?
Most of the time, we are not consciously aware of these unmet needs because we have either swept them underneath the carpet of denial, or because they have not been brought to the forefront of our conscious minds due to an internal protective mechanism called repression.
Simply taking some time to reflect upon the origins of any habit can help us uncover the underlying need associated with it. For some, this is a relatively easy task. For others, it may be more difficult, time consuming and emotional. Those who experience difficulty with these feelings may want to seek the help of a qualified counselor.
FCCS is directed by Melinda Haynes, MA, California LMFT 102308. Oklahoma LMFT 1153. North Carolina LMFT 2143.