If you've ever had a BAD habit, or wanted to create a NEW good one
.... then Today's Blog is for you!
Since most of the world is BACK-To-SCHOOL,
it seems so much easier to spot our habits... both good and bad.
1. Staying up too LATE
2. Wasting valuable time on FACEBOOK
3. When we eat, when we snack
4. Breakfast (do you or don't you)
5. Finding time to Exercise
6. Making Beds
7. Always running LATE, or always EARLY
8. Shower in the morning or shower at night
9. When you do Homework
10. and... the dreaded BED TIME
ALL of these things are products of our HABITS!
On our recent "Vacation Road-trip" drive to Arizona, we listened to the Audio version of a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. (link below)
If you get a chance, or like informative books.... this one is a MUST have.
I have listened to it 3 times now and hear something I missed previously each time. It contains cutting edge information about how to create NEW GOOD habits
(like a daily practice of GRATITUDE), or for some.... BREAKING the
DESTRUCTIVE Habits that seem to haunt us:
from anything like staying up to late, to biting your fingernails,
all the way to excessive gambling, or drug and alcohol addictions.
IT is an incredible book that I highly recommend.
But... if you're not a reader, or that's not your thing ....
then I will give you the shortened run down right here.
Here is the Amazon link if you are interested:
I can tell you that our family is like most American families
where everyone is busy... and it is TIME, or the LACK of it
that leads to many of our BAD Habits!
IN our house- it's not having a set homework time,
or doing a grab and go meal because everyone is home at different times,
early morning rushing, or OUR BIGGEST problem..... staying up too late...
often times watching cat videos on Facebook...
when we KNOW that tomorrow always gets here about 2 hours too early.
YET.... why is it, we continue to do these things "WHEN WE KNOW BETTER!"
image by: Medical News Today
Research by Dr. Ann Graybiel, published in a February 2018 article
in Current Biology showed some very shocking evidence about
how our habits work. Dr. Graybiel calls this new finding "bookending".
Her research showed that when we have a repeated habit
the neurons fire a very specific signal at the beginning of the sequence
and then not again until the end.
ALL of the steps in the middle are part of
an "interneuron" network that are similar to
a passer-by along the habit loop.
Our brains are built for efficiency and this a way
to "box up" a repeated sequence and save valuable
Neuronal Real-Estate for other Brain Functions.
For example: Think about this morning when you went to go brush your teeth,
You probably did the whole entire thing as a Habit Loop.
If you don't believe me... TAKE A LOOK!
You most likely did not consciously tell yourself to:
1. Get toothbrush out of drawer
2. Get toothpaste out of drawer
3. Unscrew cap on the toothpaste
4. Squeeze the toothpaste tube onto the toothbrush
5. Raise arm to mouth
6. Brush teeth from side to side and top to bottom
7. Spit when your mouth becomes full of bubbles
8. Rinse out your mouth
9. Rinse off your toothbrush
10. Put items back in the drawer
image by: HuffingtonPost.com
We do the same thing on:
1. Our Drive to Work
2. Which shoe we put on first
3. If you put on your makeup first or fix your hair first
4. Do you listen to music in the car, a podcast, or like silence
ALL of these things are HABITS.
So... in our house (after listening to this book) we decided we were going to implement some new habits for the new school year, like better bedtimes, 3 nights together at dinner, and... the BIG ONE is we were going to make the boys start making their beds before going to school each day.
I have most always been a bed maker... and I can tell you now that I understand more about the brain, that there REALLY IS something about having a MADE BED that sends endorphins that signal accomplishment, goal setting, self respect, appreciation for one's space..... and there is just something about getting into a MADE BED that makes it feel just a little better than climbing into one that you have to dig the covers up from the foot or find your pillow that landed in the floor. Changing 1 small habit can activate new stimulus in the Basal Ganglia of the Temporal Lobe that can alter the brain's habit looping system just enough to make room for other habit changes.
Neither one of these beds are gonna win any prizes in bed-making...
but hey, it's a start! And 10 days later..... I can slowly see some new habits forming. I didn't even have to remind Brady this morning to make his bed.
He did it right after he put his clothes on....
just the same as we'd been doing it the other 9 days.
NOW... I'm not going to kid myself and think
that if I wasn't here to check up on the Bed-Making 101 Project
that either of these boys would still do it... but 10 days in...
I'm elated with the progress!
HOW does this affect ADDICTION?
All addictions are habits... granted, some are much worse than others, but they are habits none the same. One side of my family has been cursed with a looooooong line of addiction and I have always been fascinated as to how it works, particularly along genetic lines.
BRAND NEW RESEARCH from Duke University has found very promising evidence isolating brain activity in BAD HABITS. Research on lab mice has located a very specific gene in the Basal Ganglia called FSI cells that are activated during BAD HABITS. These cells make up only a tiny fraction, in fact, only 1% of the neurons in the striatum contain these FSI cells. HOWEVER, when laboratory mice were given a very specific drug that deactivated the FSI cells.... the BAD HABIT brain sequence no longer performed its loop. This is an incredible new discovery for those suffering from addiction and one that could possibly change the lives of thousands of people across the globe.
image by: positivepsychologyprogram.com
So...start today and try changing your negative habit sequences, or better yet.... work on creating some new ones like going to bed 30 minutes sooner, having dinner with your family, or starting a daily practice of GRATITUDE.
All you have to do it simply begin! One of my favorite quotes ever is by
Mark Twain, which says, "The secret to getting ahead, is GETTING STARTED."
Staci is a one-of-a-kind mix of JOY and Neuroscience who is teaching people all over the world to BUILD a BETTER BRAIN by using Gratitude to create a BRIGHTER future. She has a Master's Degree in Educational NEUROSCIENCE and 25 years of teaching experience where she developed a reputation for being able to uncover potential in others like no one else could. Let her teach you how to live a HAPPIER Life by using the neuroscience of GRATITUDE to rewire your brain and build a better future!