There’s no denying that humans are creatures of habit. From an early age, we pick up behaviors we find useful or satisfying, repeating them until they turn into full-fledged habits. And over time, the subconscious part of our mind, where behaviors transform into habits, begin to thrive. They become familiar ways of behaving, with expected consequences that serve our satisfaction and needs.
But what about bad habits like nail biting, binge eating, and snoring? While they still serve legitimate needs, they come with familiar but negative consequences that are damaging to your health, emotional well-being, career, relationships, and confidence among other things. It’s the virtue and effects of these habits that make them “bad.”
Why do People Have Bad Habits?
More often than not, people form bad habits as a way to deal with stress and anxiety. Whether it’s chain smoking, heavy drinking, drug abuse, or binge eating, these habits are usually a coping mechanism to escape stress and feel better.
On the other hand, habits like nail biting, fidgeting, and hair pulling among others usually stem from childhood and is the subconscious mind’s attempt to relieve stress and self-medicate. These habits also form as a response to guilt and shame.
Of course, you’re probably wondering if there’s any way to let go of these bad habits. More often than not, it simply boils down to having the right combination of mindset and willpower. But sometimes, it helps to have someone give you a push in the right direction.
This is exactly where hypnotherapy comes in. Because most habits originate in your mind’s subconscious, hypnosis can serve as a shortcut to changing your negative habits right from their very roots.
Below are some examples of bad habits that can be treated with hypnotherapy.
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis found sufficient evidence of hypnosis treating tongue thrust and nail biting simultaneously. The subject, a 14-year-old girl, was recommended by her orthodontist to get rid of her tongue-thrusting habit to complete her orthodontic treatment. She also had a habit of biting her nails, further contributing to her dental issues.
Yet another study found that self-hypnosis techniques have the potential of curbing binge eating, with the test subject, a 16-year-old boy, “able to reduce his anxiety by gaining an understanding that it originated as a result of fear of failure.” Besides binge eating, the boy also suffered from “anxiety, insomnia, migraine headaches, nausea, and stomachaches.”
Even a habit like snoring has the potential of being treated with hypnosis. A case study published in The British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis describes how a 53-year-old man who sought treatment for hypnosis was able to leverage direct suggestion to force himself to sleep on his side when snoring at night.
“It was shown that the snoring symptom lessened and his wife commented on this at a time when she was unaware that he was coming for treatment,” the study notes.
As promising as hypnotherapy is for beating bad habits, it only really works if the patient is serious about making positive changes and is open to applying unorthodox techniques on a consistent basis. In other words, hypnosis as a tool for beating bad habits is only effective when used to its full potential.