By: Simone N
So what can be done to reverse these damaging habits and patterns?
I have mentioned in Childhood Wounds: The Cause of Self Sabotage? the clues of our sabotaging behavior lie in our childhood. So it is best to find out how it originated (by looking at your past), and why you are doing it. Upon that discovery, you will be a lot closer in cutting through the habit, and replacing it with something more positive and healthy.
If you are neglecting yourself , the antidote to this is to be present with yourself, learn the language of the body (what is is telling you?). The reason we neglect ourselves, is we were taught to ignore our bodies (people and experiences), so we did not develop and understanding and communication between “ourselves” and our bodies.
The first step to grow aware of ourselves and bodies (and it’s language) is by meditation.
Meditation, I find, encourages a better connection (and an awareness) between body and mind, and spirit. Meditation, balances thoughts, brings more clarity, allows wisdom to come through from the divine, increases sensitivity of intuition, intergation of Self. Scientific studies show that to engage in regular meditation, the circuits in the brain (which are responsible for habits, patterns,thoughts, reasoning, emotional responses) literally help to reverse bad habits, increase peace, balance, give more clarity and sharpness of mind. As a result with all the benefits it provides, it would be safe to safe to day that this healthy practice can help to solve a lot of destructive patterns, including over indulging behaviors, too. Of course, I wouldn’t say the if you are struggling with an addiction that you cannot handle (anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism, drug addictions) that you shouldn’t seek professional help, it would be recommended. In addition, to a program, meditation is a very helpful tool in recovery (some treatment centers use this practice as well).
There are other ways to help reverse these behaviors, which I will state below.
Neglecting sleep can be over come in a few ways.
- Minimize time spent on entertainment and technology. Phones (texting), computer(everything on it), t.v. (sitcoms, and movies).The more distractions, the less you will sleep. Set a schedule for each day. when you find time for extra-curriculars and entertainment, set a timer (give yourself a limit). This is how to develop discipline.
- Organize your day the best you can; if you have many things to accomplish, prioritize. What is most important, do it to within the schedule, leave the rest. Set a time limit for each activity. Don’t forget to schedule in sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine. As you do this your mind will create a pattern and develop an anticipation for sleep time. Just as you developed a pattern to do things a certain way and have sleep at the bottom of your list, give it some more importance.
- Take some natural substances (that facilitate sleep) at a certain time of night; within your bedtime routine, it can help a great deal. (Remember, natural, no drugs).
Neglecting food/under eating can be overcome in a few ways:
- Organize your day, and schedule the times of day to eat if you have to (if life is hectic). It can sound a little over the top and extreme, but it does work if you put forth the effort.
- For those who do it for aesthetic reasons, it is important to ask yourselves some questions: Is it worth it to starve yourself, to have a body you so desperately need? Is it worth your health? To become sickly, or dead? If you really want to get down to it, a healthy body is a lot more attractive (no matter the shape or size) that a body that is sickly, and deprived; it looks unnatural, and disturbing. Human being for the most part are wired to find anything that exudes health, appealing. Beauty is health. If you find yourself unable to control your starving practices, then professional help is needed
- If you are not that far gone, then force yourself to eat. There is no other way. You have to be willing to make the conscious effort to reverse your destructive habit, by doing just the opposite. After a while your body will get used to it, (just as it got used to being deprived), eventually you won’t have to think about it anymore.
Ways to reverse bad hygiene and grooming habits:
- Firstly the thing you should know, is that the first impression someone has of you upon meeting, is your appearance. Do you want them to see you as unorganized, careless, unkempt, having low self esteem? Do you want them to be put-off, offended, irritated, or concerned by you appearance and odor? Is it worth loosing opportunities, jobs, relationships, become socially isolated and depressed? It is a lot more effective, to see if it is worth it rather that thinking you should.
- Make it a conscious effort to set time to take care your physical body and appearance, you can even watch videos, or read articles on the subject, it will give you a greater sense of importance by observing and learning from other people. It can be easy to neglect the self; anybody for that matter, especially when there are stressful circumstances, and difficult emotions being dealt with.
Now for Over Indulgence.
Reversing Habits of Over eating:
- First you must learn to develop discipline and restraint. No one can teach you the skill of discipline, but I can suggest a few things that may help. If you want to scare yourself straight, then watch some documentaries and shows (featuring real stories and people) about over eating and obesity.
- Eat foods that are filling (healthy foods), fiber rich foods, as they prevent you from eating a lot because it is so satisfying. You eat a lot less of it, rather than those foods, that are a bleached, processed, and high fats, but low in nutrients, and complex carbs, and fiber.
- Buy only the basics, the staple foods that are necessary to make complete meals. Do not look, or touch the foods that you have a weakness for. Stay away from temptation. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Be present in your body as you eat. Avoid distractions, when eating (t.v, phone, games). It can make a big difference. When you are engrossed in an activity as you eat, you are not aware of the signals from your mind alerting you of satisfaction, until removed from the activity, you then feel too full. Focus on your food at all times.
Reversing Over exercising:
- Once again set a schedule for self, do not exceed the designated times per week, and time spent in the gym
- Listen to your body. This is where the presence comes in again. If you are feeling any straining, fatigue, aches or pains, before or during a workout, stop. Your body is communicating to you, listen to it. If you don’t, there will be further, more serious problems, there are always warnings.
- Before each workout, question (there’s that word again) if you really need it. When was the last time you did? Check with your body, it will let you know.
- Sometimes exercising becomes an addiction as as an attempt to release constant, pent-up stress. This also needs to be acknowledged. While the intent is good, it is damaging. Finding a substitute activity that gives the same relaxing feelings (endorphin high) such as meditation, deep breathing, watching something humorous, and even a simple stretch, can induce better feelings.
Reversing Excessive Body Modification:
- More questions. Is it worth it ? What about the money? Do you absolutely need it? Is it essential to your survival? Is it worth the health risk, dying, injured/damaged, or spending the rest of your life trying to reverse what could have been avoided?
- Positive affirmations about your self are good for this. Do it in front of the mirror. Looking in your eyes, has powerful effects, and profound healing. Do it as many times as you can. Say ” I am enough…….. I am perfect…..I forgive myself for thinking there is something wrong with me.” As you continue to do this, you develop appreciation, and love for your body and self, then altering your body will not feel need.
Reversing Over Indulgence with Alcohol:
- If your pattern of alcohol consumption has taken over your life; interfering with relationships, jobs, and other aspects, it is not something that can be controlled, it is time to see a professional. This may very well be mental disorder/disease, an addiction
- There are other cases when it has become a habit to drink, but it does not interfere with everyday life, however the activity can become more frequent and excessive in times of stress and change. The person becomes triggered by events/circumstances (wounds, trauma, pain).
- If you have this problem, find out what your triggers are, once you identify them, then you can work on replacing the habit, with healthy productive ways of dealing with difficult emotions.
- Ask yourself the important questions; and just know that alcohol never solves problems (maybe a temporary illusion of wellness), it just creates them
Reversing Drug Use:
- Abusing recreational drugs needs to be dealt with a professional; if it interferes with life, relationships, opportunities, then of course it is a cause of concern (addiction, and harmful nature).
- Even if you are “functioning” user, ask if it is worth the risk, the health risk, as well as relationships, opportunities, respect, your future– by incarceration and a bad record?
- If you are abusing prescription drugs, the same thing pertains. While it may be legal, your health is till at risk (chemicals) over time it wreaks havoc on the body
Reversing Self-Inflicted Punishment:
- To deliberately inflict serious harm on yourself, calls for special attention by a professional. This is an obvious manifestation of serious turmoil, destructive tendencies toward the self, and most likely toward others as well.
- It can still be a suggestion to ask yourself why you are doing this, to investigate, however to display this behavior, suggests deep unconsciousness, that is ingrained and automatic, so no awareness. There are always exceptions, though.
Anything can be overcome, it just take a willingness to change, diligence, patience and time.