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Conquering Bad Habits

A persons personality can be described as a collage of habits which the person expresses. We are our habits and our habits make us. The more good habits we have, the better people we tend to be. Bad habits, which are negative behaviour patterns, however, hold us back from reaching our full potentials. Bad habits, as we know, are detrimental to our well-being; they affect us physically (e.g smoking and its adverse effects on the lungs) and mentally (habitual lying, See our previous post The importance of being honest ). You can conquer your bad habits of procrastination, overspending, smoking or even nail-biting and picking your nose, but first you have to assess the origin of such habits and circumstances that trigger them.

Some bad habits, such as smoking and overspending, often start when a person is under a lot of stress. Gratification is often used in such circumstances to take our minds off the stressor. This may not sound so bad initially, but this is how most bad habits begin. The reason being that when we gratify ourselves, the pleasure we feel is initiated by the release of dopamine from from the limbic system to the  pleasure centers of our brain. Behaviours that trigger this release are then more readily reinforced as we naturally enjoy pleasure. The problem is it is more difficult to be moderate which such behaviours and they soon interfere with our lives and become bad habits.

Most of the time, bad habits tend to ease the ‘here and now’ and provide immediate satisfaction, not thoroughly thinking of the future consequences or effect they’d have on us. This is seen especially in procrastination, which most of us are often guilty of. So if you are serious about conquering your bad habits and you are ready to make a firm resolve, the following actions are necessary:

1. Increased Will power

can do!

You have to make a strong resolution that you are willing to stop whatever bad habit it is. You have to remind yourself of it’s adverse effects in your life and that you can indeed control this behaviour. This is something you do daily to increase your willpower and subjugate the habit. Remind yourself that you are in control of your actions and not vice versa. You can even write it down in a diary or somewhere you can see it each day as a reminder. Stop for a second now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I am in control!”.


its-possible-to-rewire-your-brain-by-breaking-out-of-the-way-you-naturally-think2. Re-wire your brain

Some say we are creatures of habits and this is due to the way our brains are wired. The more we do an action, the stronger the neural connections relating to that action. This is how practice makes perfect. However, this is also how we automatically or subconsciously find ourselves indulging in our bad habits, the neural connection is usually strong. An environment or situation, that your brain has associated with you carrying out a certain action, could even trigger bad habits. Therefore, you have to re-wire your brain. Associate healthier actions with environments or situations you used to associate with bad habits. This is something you have to do daily for about a month (some say between 21 and 28 days before a bad habit is broken) in order for new neural connections associated with the situation to be established.


3. Reflect


Take time out to reflect on your actions and how they affect your body and well-being. Reflect on who you are now as a person due to this bad habit. Understand that at this moment you’re doing fine without it. Imagine the future consequences of your bad habits. The anxiety caused by too much procrastination or the disappointment you’d feel when you realize your broke again due to overspending. Whatever situation you can relate with. Stay relaxed and imagine how you’d feel if you finally got rid of this bad habit. Experience the momentary joy. Realize when your body begins to crave for this bad habit and what alerts your senses to it. Once you are able to do this, you’d find that you begin to know the initial physical and mental signs that often lead to you indulging in this habit again and can make a conscious decision to stop before you begin to consider it. (For a full mindfulness meditation experience go to


4. Have a support group

Confide with your friends and family if you can and tell them about the difficulty your having is stopping this bad habit. support-groupYou’d find that some of your friends may be going through something similar or even the exact same problem. They may have other ways of dealing with bad habits that they could share with you. Meet with a group maybe once a week to share ideas and to find support. This is one of the most effective methods of conquering bad habits. Find people you can relate with and vice versa and help each other.

Moderation is key

Remember to do all things in moderation. Not too little and definitely not too much. Especially things that bring us pleasure. Discipline is very important if we want to prevent ourselves from bad habits. Be moderate.

If you try or you’ve sincerely tried all these and you persist in relasping, it is advised that you seek a psychotherapist as you may not just have a bad habit but an addiction.

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Self-confidence is one of the most attractive aspects in a person. Men admire it in women and women desire it in men. Self confidence is a major step to success in many different areas in life. A confident person leads and achieves and most of all is generally happier than others. Are you a confident person? Here are some main characteristics of confident people. A confident person:

1. is self-assured: Don’t wait for others to tell you good things about yourself to motivate you. Motivate yourself! happy-personRemind yourself who you are and what you want to achieve and be content. Be mindful of yourself. Take time out to sit quietly and explore your thoughts so you are aware of who you are all the time. Take criticism well, it is not the end of the world, don’t let it put you down. Exaggerate your good qualities to yourself and always tell yourself “I can!”. Be your number one fan.

plan2. has a plan:  Make a plan and a checklist of both your short term and long term goals and stick to it. You’d find the more achievements you check off the list the more confident you’d become. Know the things you can and cannot do. Not reaching our goals adversely affects our confidence. Achieve short term goals to boost your confidence for long term goals. It is also important to reward yourself as you attain your milestones.

3. looks the best he or she can: Find what colours goes best with your skin and wear such colours often. Alwaysmenssuitfull2-1 dresses nicely and have an image of yourself that you like and want to maintain. Be creative and stylish with your dressing and on formal occasions look extra sharp. Always look neat.

4. has “open” body language: They say body language is 70- 80% of communication. You’d find that most confident people use a lot of hand movements and don’t fold their arms across, which is a sign of being defensive. Be expressive and audible in speech. Make yourself comfortable all the time, wherever you find yourself.

5. is comfortable with himself/herself: Can spend time alone and not feel bad about it. In fact, they relish their alone time. Confident people like they’re own company. If you can’t bear with yourself others may equally not be able to bear with you.

6. holds beliefs firmly: Stands for something. Always have strong beliefs that practically defines them. They would always defend this belief and it is very difficult for them to let go of it. Remember the saying, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”, confident people do not fall for anything.

jogging7. is active: Whether its playing sports or taking walks, confident people tend to have an active lifestyle. They are cautious of their physical well-being and are always up to something. Solve puzzles and read books. Gather as much knowledge as u can each day. Keeping the mind busy prevents automatic negative thoughts which people with low confidence levels often have. In addition, knowledge increases self-confidence. Stay active.

A great way of improving your self-confidence is through writing meditation. It’s the recording of ones thoughts without filtering, editing or judging oneself. It’s pouring out your mind on a piece of paper with utmost sincerity. It’s great for confidence, especially when you write down affirmations of your good qualities, for example “I am a good listener. I am hardworking. I am brilliant” and so on. This practice elicits a higher sense of self-discovery, self-assurance and, over time, significantly improved self-confidence.

Register for a FREE mindfulness meditation training which includes writing meditation, follow this link:

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The Horoscope Hoax

Horoscope_newspaperWe’ve all heard about horoscopes, right? Were our futures are foretold and our love matches are made as a result of the movements of cosmic planets and so on. One may suggest this was more popular in ancient times when the world was rather naive, but you can be assured that people in modern times believe in horoscopes now probably more than those in the past and seldom fail to check what “fate” has in store for them each day.

Research has often suggested that these ‘predictions’ from horoscopes are just generalized, ambiguous and often feel-good. Some people are aware that it’s not necessarily genuine, yet still read their horoscope as it tells them what they want to hear or gives them some sense of hope, security or assurance which we humans naturally yearn for. Also, it calms ones fear of the unknown future which often makes us anxious. The validity on the other hand is still highly questionable. No surprise as it’s called pseudopsychology, ‘pseudo’ meaning ‘false’. However some will also argue that each time their ‘star sign’ described their day it usually happens that way. Or in areas of relationships, they genuinely believe that they are more compatible with a particular star sign, just as their horoscope suggests.

What happens is as we read these horoscopes before our day starts, it generally becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where we act, or understand events, having what we have read at the back of our minds. At the end of the day, it seems like the horoscope’s prediction was spot on. We are more likely to detect it’s inaccuracy when we read them at the end of the day, when the events of the day have already unfolded. Even at that, we find people using horoscopes to make sense of a situation that occurred during the day.

Horoscopes are very much an important part of peoples’ lives, so how do you stop people from deceiving themselves? Most times you can’t. We find that some people want to believe that they have no control over their lives, that everything is pre-destined ,so they just ‘go with the flow’. This train of thought could also be harmful as lack of control usually leads to psychological disorders. Moreover, people also take it too far by making major life decisions based on their horoscopes. However, as mentioned earlier, horoscopes give us some sense of assurance and a ‘window into the possible future’ which makes life easier for some.

Caught up in the horoscope hoax?

Here’s a trick, read all star signs’ horoscopes like they are yours.

Do this properly and you’d find that most of them can be applied to you. Simply because they are often generalized and ambiguous!