How are those Resolutions going? Have you given up smoking/nail-biting/midweek chocolate binges, been to the gym/meditation class/ running club? If you have then well done, but on a dark cold winter’s evening, it’s easy to slip and find yourself back where you started – on the couch with a large glass of wine and a takeaway.
So why is it so difficult to change our habits?
We have two parts to our brain – the conscious part and what we call the “subconscious.” These two parts have very different roles. When you cut your finger, you can consciously decide to clean the wound and apply a plaster. But all the work that actually heals the wound is controlled by the subconscious.
It is often pointless attempting to make the change in our conscious mind, when the process resides in our subconscious. The brain is in a bit of battle with itself. Our conscious mind knows that these changes are good for us but unfortunately, the subconscious part of our brain responsible for our survival doesn’t like change.
The patterns of behaviour we have been repeating for so long, including the bad habits which may be damaging our long-term health and wellbeing, our subconscious will try its very best to protect! After all it doesn’t understand that we need chocolate on a Monday night after work to survive, right? Wrong, but it does explain why it takes conscious and intellectual control to sustain our resolutions.
So how do we get our conscious mind to take control and help those resolutions to stick?
Take small positive actions which move you towards your ultimate goal and take the time to really notice your achievements. This in itself triggers a chemical response in the brain which promotes a feeling of confidence and control.
Enlist the support of people around you. Positive interaction with others also creates that chemical response which helps us to feel good and keeps our conscious mind in control.
Don’t try to change too much at once. The subconscious is more likely to dig its metaphorical heels in – often creating the symptoms of stress or feelings of anxiety which persuade you to return to the old “safe” patterns. Recognising this and rationalising it can help you to overcome the urge to regress.
And this is where hypnotherapy can help. In hypnotherapy we use trance – a state in which we can bring the conscious and subconscious mind together to focus on the positive change you would like to achieve. In this state we can work to resolve the battle and take back control for the conscious mind, helping you to make that New Year’s Resolution a reality.