Edwards-Elmhurst Health shared that we all have some not-so-good habits. What’s yours? Are you a junk food fanatic? Do you often skimp on sleep? Are you a couch potato? A smoker?
Habits are a normal part of life. Some are more serious or harder to break than others. About 70 percent of smokers say they would like to quit. Why is it so hard to break a habit, especially if you know it’s not good for you?
Habits are patterns of behavior that arise through repetition. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have studied what happens in our brains as habits form.
Habits are deeply wired into our brains by constant repetition. Some habits are helpful. When behaviors become automatic, it frees up our brains to focus on different things. We wake up, brush our teeth, shower and get dressed without having to think much about it. We can drive to a familiar destination without even realizing how we got there.
Habits can also develop when enjoyable events trigger the brain’s “reward” centers. The pleasure-based habits are much harder to break. When you enjoy doing something, it prompts your brain to release a chemical called dopamine, which strengthens the habit even more and creates the craving to do it again. Read more