Many people suffer from a lack of motivation or something that leads them to have a hard time pursuing their goals. Learning to implement certain methods into your lifestyle can make a huge difference in your productivity and success. Habits, defined as an acquired behavior regularly followed until it is basically an involuntary action, while they can be good or bad and are often picked up unintentionally, they are also something that we can choose to instill in ourselves. By identifying and harnessing your unique strengths, you can begin to more efficiently contribute to the workplace as well as feel a greater sense of well-being from this newfound capability and independence.
William James, renowned as the father of American psychology, had much to say on the subject of human behavior patterns and how they shape our character. His theories relied on a neurological interpretation of the brain, famously writing about habits and the plasticity of the brain, if you exercise ability, like any other muscle, it becomes more within your control. Over time, you become more capable of influencing your own behavior through selective control of your own emotions and reactions. When you commit something to habit, your brain is essentially learning to do the task more easily, using less cognitive energy.
Neuroscience Behind Habit:
Optimizing your everyday behaviors and committing them to automatism frees up the higher powers of your mind to more important or more complex issues. As James said,“any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances, without any consciously formed purpose, or anticipation of results.”Several areas of the brain have been implicated in the formation or maintenance of habits, including the basal ganglia and brain stem. They lie on a circuit within the brain referred to as the habit loop, shown to be implicated in compulsive eating, betting, shopping, masturbating, and other compulsive behaviors.
Seeking Help in Habit-Forming:
For many, breaking old habits or establishing healthier habits is easier said than done. Getting direction from a professional in which ways are best to approach your particular issue can help you to begin to work towards your best self. BetterHelp is an online resource that helps connect people in need of professional attention with the appropriate mental health professional. With the coming of the digital age, gone are the days where the only access to mental health counseling was a nerve-wracking office visit. Online interfaces like BetterHelp allow for remote access to patients that may not have otherwise sought help.
James suggested that “the great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.” With assistance from a professional, you can get your maladaptive habits under control or begin to establish new ones, helping to break old patterns and work towards a healthier existence.