Monday, 5 December 2016

Have a bad habit? Break it now!

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‘Bad habits’- All of us have them. Do we need to feel bad about them? May be yes, may be no. But it is a definite yes, if it is affecting your life. Even I had one such bad habit which was impairing my life. Below is my story on how I got over it.

 I was a WhatsApp addict. I used to reply impulsively. The addiction grew to a point where I started hallucinating the notification sound of WhatsApp message. I was checking for messages even if there was no notification, out of an assumption that WhatsApp must have stuck. I was losing control over my time. I used to feel depressed if I was not receiving any messages. I used to text around 10 people so that I can let the conversation flow with at least one of them. I needed to keep the dopamine rush flowing or else it drove me into loneliness. In short, my happiness was out of my control. But something different happened then, which turned my life.

Define the reason for giving up the habit:
 This is the most important step for any task. Know why you are doing what. Without having a clear reason for why you want to give up, you will easily give up on breaking your bad habit. My reason was when I moved to stay with my parents, they could not understand what those important messages were I was attending to all the time. They challenged the fact that I could stay without that. I took it as a challenge and worked in that direction to get over it.

Replace the reward:
 A message from WhatsApp gave  me a dopamine rush. I had to replace it with a healthier rush. I long for interesting conversations. The present way was toxic.  I had to look out for a healthier way to have them. I found Quora to be a suitable place to have that. So every time I felt the urge to text, I shared my knowledge with others on this platform.

Reduce slowly:
 Stopping it all of a sudden makes a person depressed because of with drawl symptoms. Instead reducing it step by step helps in getting over the addiction sustainable. I thought of stopping WhatsApp usage many times prior to this. When my monthly net pack on phone expired, I was not able to stay for even a few hours without it. But this time I did something different. I did not stop it completely. Instead I reduced it to data pack for 5 days a week. So when I am out on the weekdays I have net pack but if I am going out on a weekend I won't. So it was about depriving myself for a few hours each week. After a month, I reduced it further down to four days a week. On 5th day, if I feel the urge to text, I switch on data for a few minutes once a day. As a next step, I cut it short to 3 days a week for 2 weeks. By then, I had already reached a stage of control.
The above mentioned methods are what worked for me. The bad habit which you want to break might be different. But you can still try the above steps. Reward yourself after you achieve each milestone. 

Happy breaking bad habit!

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