Consumer Watch: Don't ditch bad habits but do replace them
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Mental health professionals say bad habits are though to break because we are creatures of habit. Taking on counseling cues can help find what we are looking for in healthier ways.
“Literally any human behavior can be taken to too far of an extent, and need to be balanced out with other actions,” says Nolan Lawless, licensed professional counselor.
Many of the things we do might start out making us happy-- from eating out, to shopping, and drinks with friends. All of that is fine, until it's not, and it can start costing us too much money and our health.
“Especially for habits that produce positive associations that help release dopamine in the brain. It is important to have something else that you engage in that also provides that because otherwise your brain starts screaming, ‘hey, I need this dopamine’.
Identify if a behavior is a problem, and then figure out what you are getting out of it. Sometimes that might require some help at a place like Mosaic Mental Health. Lawless says, if you don't find a positive way to release that dopamine, it's more likely you'll fall back to the bad habit.
“There is a reason why behaviors like over gambling, over eating, compulsive shopping, end up becoming these problematic habits-- because you get something tangible from them,” says Lawless.
A popular way to replace a bad habit is exercise. That is a fast and healthy way to release dopamine. If you are a compulsive shopper, try your hand at extreme couponing. You can donate the things you don't need to charity.
Lawless says people do often see licensed counselors for mental health issues, but seeing a professional when you are trying to ditch a bad habit can help you figure things out faster. Mental health professionals also say it is important to have varied hobbies, so you won't focus too much on one thing.