One man, shown his brain image with damage from his addiction, responded that maybe the doctor was “fudging the picture.” In the grip of his unhealthy habit, he preferred to deceive himself. To change ourselves, then, requires enormous effort.
For several posts we’ve considered three common sources of difficulties: depression, addiction, and overeating. Let’s look at some steps we can take to pursue health: physical, mental, and spiritual.
Because we tend to repeat those habits with greatest rewards, we must actively engage with our mind to avoid bad habits. We must decide if health is a top priority. It may be, but before we can overcome our inner disposition (rewards from dopamine) combined with external temptations, we must decide. If we decide health is our top goal, we can begin with some mental strategies to redirect ourselves.
Our first step is to examine what we believe. Our beliefs can be accurate, or, as is often the case, very wrong. Like the man mentioned above, we believe the doctor fudged the brain scan. We may believe we’re not addicted, or that our dark mood is normal, or that we can eat as much as we want. Perhaps we believe marijuana helps our creativity. To change, we start by checking out what we believe.
What beliefs hinder your health?
Source: Brian E. King, Ph.D. Presentation on “How the Brain Forms New Habits,” Institute for Brain Potential, Clackamas, OR 2/1/12.