If you were considering how to break unhealthy habits, where would you even start? The root cause of how habits initially develop involves the repetition of tasks, but brain chemistry plays a significant role that impairs your thinking to make you feel as though you’re trapped in what seems like a never-ending cycle. Replacing these unhealthy practices with beneficial ones can set you up for success to positively reshape the way you live your life.

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Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Whether the practices you engage in obsessively are healthy or not, the reality is that if the task is pleasurable, then the chemical dopamine is released in the brain. A habit is born mainly due to the dopamine because even when you aren’t participating in the task, you may find yourself yearning to engage in the habit. This craving is because “routines can become hardwired in our brains,” as explained by Dr. Nora Volkow, who is director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. In other words, habits can be so difficult to break because you get so used to doing them and may begin turning to them by means of autopilot. Breaking habits can be difficult and there’s no definitive way to go about putting an end to one, although changing a former practice by adopting a new, healthier one in its place can be effective. There are some additional helpful tips when it comes to how to break unhealthy habits to consider as well.


Bad habits may be hard to change. Understanding and accepting this fact can be essential because although breaking an unwanted habit can be extremely hard since you have become so familiar and comfortable in partaking in the ritualistic habit, it is possible to overcome it. Just keep in mind, it’s like the saying goes, “A tiger can’t change its stripes, nor can a leopard change its spots.” There are certain aspects that cannot just be altered instantaneously.

Take action

Be proactive by picking up new activities. Learning something new like how to knit, sketch, build, play a sport, and such can help to stimulate activity in the brain. By discovering new activities and hobbies that you previously were unaware of before or didn’t know how to do, you acquire skills and gain knowledge. You also make less time for your unwanted habit and can reshape your lifestyle by implementing new, innovative, and different practices.

Don’t give in

A huge reason for slipping into temptation and returning to bad unhealthy habits includes believing in the lies that you may tell yourself. This may even extend to giving in when the going gets tough or comparing yourself to the rest of society and justifying returning to your habit based on what others are doing. Don’t worry so much about what other people are doing but rather be concerned about the negative impact that you know your unhealthy habit has had on your life and remember why you need to break it.

Unhealthy habits aren’t easy to break. Above anything else, willingness is required when it comes to how to break unhealthy habits to place beneficial practices in their place. Each person may struggle with getting latched onto a cycle of some form of unwanted routine or habit, but it is possible to stray away and trade them in for more positive ones.


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