Getting Rid of Bad Habits Permanently (A Complete Guide)

How to Get Rid of Bad Habits When There is Unprocessed Trauma

All addiction stems from unprocessed trauma. We feel some kind of pain, lack, discomfort or discontent in our body, and we seek out pleasures to provide relief. When we rely on that relief as a crutch to end those negative thoughts, it becomes an addiction.
Every time we repeat a bad habit we strengthen those neural pathways in our brain, making the behavior more automatic. But, every time we don’t act on that habit, we create new neural pathways that strengthen our new better habit of not acting on that impulsive behavior.
The best way to both heal from trauma and create new habits is to bring conscious awareness to our unconscious actions. That means we really sit with and observe our trauma-response — the cravings — and we make peace with them. Instead of letting a substance or pleasurable activity change our mindset, we take back control of our mind and create a mindset of peace.
First, you must be patient and kind with yourself. Try to let go of expectations and allow yourself to be fully in this moment, and just sit with and accept fully whatever arises. Here’s how to do that.

How Do I Permanently Get Rid of Bad Habits

You are more powerful than your thoughts and impulses. In your mind, any number of random and chaotic, impulsive and destructive thoughts can pop into our head. But our higher wisdom gets to choose which thoughts we act on and which we can let go of.

We all have an infinite wisdom within us that far exceeds the number of facts we can remember or how clever we can be with words (which all thoughts are just words). We are all very good at giving advice, but rarely are we able to apply that wisdom and advice to ourselves. It’s much easier to solve other people’s problems than our own, but that’s only because our ego and desires cloud our personal judgment.

In order to tap into our higher wisdom, we must make a habit of witnessing our thoughts. When we witness thoughts, there is space between our highest self and the cravings. As that space grows and witnessing becomes second nature, we will automatically do what is in our best interest. Simply witnessing thoughts instead of thinking thoughts makes us more peaceful, like how watching a tragic movie doesn’t impact us the same way as if we are going through a tragedy.

When we make peace with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, when we can accept our traumatic past, we naturally create a safe space for those thoughts and feelings. When we sit with what’s painful, we strengthen our capacity to face our fears, overcome challenges, and we will no longer need substances or pleasures to escape them.

Practice Happiness and Gratitude

All addiction stems from an effort to bring us relief from our own negative, pessimistic, chaotic mind. While we can’t control what thoughts pop into our mind, we can control where we put our focus and awareness.

The more mindful we become of our mind, the more we will notice its standard mode of operation. We’ll be able to notice when it is stressed, anxious or depressed, and instead of turning our attention to our cravings for relief, we can turn our attention to the things that bring us lasting joy and fulfillment: working towards our goals, getting healthy, friends and family, achieving success, and a brighter future free from addiction.

For every one of us, there is some idea, memory, person, place or goal that makes us happy. There is something that we are all grateful for. When we turn our attention to that, we can use our mind to become joyful and we won’t need anything externally to rely on. That is the power of spirituality.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of a Bad Habit

The day we quit a habit is the day it is gone. Depending on how long we had the habit will determine how long it will take to become fully free from cravings. But we can rest assured that the moment we make a choice to stop something, that habit is broken.

If we have done something for decades, those neural pathways will be deeply ingrained in us. There is an inertia that develops from every action we take. The more times we take an action, the greater the inertia.

But the good news is that if we have a deeply ingrained habit, like smoking, and we used to smoke 20 times a day, we will actually be able to quit easily because we will probably get a craving 200 times the first day. That’s 200 times we don’t smoke. So the reverse inertia can happen rather quickly.

Most of the difficulty of any addiction drops off quite fast. It’s like sledding down a hill. At first it’s a big drop, but then the rest of the way is more flat. Making it through those first couple days and weeks gets the physical withdrawal symptoms out of our body. But they are nothing we can’t handle.

Those withdrawal symptoms may be uncomfortable, but they aren’t actually bad. They are usually just a feeling like shaking combined with a mental fixation. We can watch both the physical sensations and the thoughts with peace and calm. They pass rather quickly, as that is the nature of all things.

Something to Remember

If you have tried quitting many times and failed, which most of us have, it’s easy to fall into despair or low self confidence in our ability to quit. But the science is very clear, the more times you have failed at quitting, the better you become at quitting and the more likely you are to succeed.

Someone who has quit and failed 30 times knows very well what triggers them and what trips them up. So if you have failed 100 times, you are an expert by now and this time, with the spiritual method, you will surely succeed. And if you do fail, try again right away.

You’ve got this. Remember, most of all that quitting is easier than maintaining a life of addiction. Addiction is very hard. It takes a lot of money, effort and time.

Quitting is free, it frees up your mental space for peace and joy, and it is much easier on the body and mind. It is like stepping off of a rickety roller coaster. When we become free from addiction, the highs and lows give way to lasting peace and contentment.

No substance or pleasure can compare to true and lasting peace. It’s just that most of us were not taught how to create that. Through presence and mindfulness, positivity and gratitude, and by practicing meditation, we can develop the priceless skill of using our mind to change our mindset, and we won’t need to rely on anything else.

We are so much stronger and wiser than our mindless impulses. We can sit with our cravings without acting on them. We can endure any hardship. And those skills will improve every aspect of our lives. We’ll become more patient, more disciplined, and we will be unstoppable.

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