It is the right time to break your bad habits
Why is it so hard to change habits and live a better life? We promise ourselves we are going to change this, to do that, to quit this, to keep up doing that, but then, at the end of the day, we find ourselves at focusing on whatever else around us drawing our attention.
Some researches found out that our brain gets easily distracted by past rewards even if these rewards have never existed or they are no longer real.
Luckily, there is a way to trick our brain. A number of neuroscientists published a study in Current Biology concerning this matter. The participants were asked to spend several hours looking for red and green objects on a colored screen. They were paid 1,50 dollars for every red object and 25 cents for every green one. The participants were also asked to do the same exercise while doing brain scans, but this time they should just look for certain shapes. The researchers kept on throwing red objects just to confuse the participants. In fact, they were drawn to them as expected and the brain area involved in attention was activated and filled with dopamine which is a chemical linked to reward. So, the participants found the shapes, but they were slow at doing that because they were distracted by the red objects…this means that they had been conditioned to anticipate a reward.
This research showed that whenever a certain behaviour becomes a habit, we don’t have a so much control over our brian’s responses as we might think. Our brain prefers automatically doing what is that worked fine in the past without wasting brain energy.
How to break habit loops?
- Identify the cues that set you off
- Figure out which reward is linked to the bad habit
- Find a way to satisfy that reward in other ways
Let’s try to create new routine habits to replace the habit loop that offers no true rewards….let’s try new ways to be happier and fill our brain with dopamine.