What is your bad habit? Do you bite your nails? Or maybe you tap, tap, tap your fingers on your desk. Whatever it is, you can beat it.

“Breaking a habit is often first about understanding the role it’s playing and seeking to address that,” Chris Liljedahl, Team Leader of Counseling Services at Centerstone, says.

For example, you may tap your fingers when you are nervous and unable to relax. Engaging in a positive method of relaxation, such as taking a walk or meditating, can relieve nervous energy and help break the habit.

When attempting to break a habit, Chris says it is important to reward effort instead of accomplishment, and to accept that setbacks will probably happen.

“It seems that people will often go into making a change in habits without adequate planning for how to deal with setbacks,” Chris says. “The avoidance of setbacks is usually less successful than practicing recommitting after a setback. That is why rewarding effort is more helpful than strictly rewarding accomplishments.”

When a bad habit becomes harmful to your mind or body, you should seek professional help since some habits are actually classified as disorders. Disorders like trichotillomania (hair pulling) that focus on repetitive behavior related to the body are often treated with a method called Habit Reversal Training. The primary goal is not to stop or decrease the habit, but rather to increase a competing behavior that “replaces” the original behavior. For habits like hair pulling, a person may instead increase other behaviors such as brushing their hair more frequently, use a leave in moisturizing conditioner, or even create a barrier by wearing band-aids on the finger tips of the dominate hand.

Remember, you can break your bad habit but you don’t have to do it alone. Call Centerstone at (618) 462-2331 to make an appointment with one of our expert clinicians today.