Certain bad habits may be preventing you from making any real progress with your skin issues. Acknowledging these habits and finding ways to break them can be a critical component of regaining control of your skin.
A major part of our daily lives involve repetitive behaviors.
The first time we engaged in one of these behaviors, it likely required some effort to learn the skill and perform the task. With repetition, these behaviors become almost second nature and require practically no mental effort.
Essentially, these sort of repetitive behavior can be labeled as habits.
Habits drive a major part of our behavior and often escape the conscious processing required by less common behaviors. As a result, we do not often fully comprehend the amount of habits we have unintentionally acquired throughout our lives.
Unfortunately, some of the habits we acquire through life can be considered bad habits. Though they may have originated from good intention, they carry substantial negative effects in th e long run. For example, itching the skin may have emerged out of a necessity , but with time has developed into a habit that simply fuels itself.
When it comes to skin issues, there appear to be some common bad habits that can emerge:
- Over reliance on internet for information regarding their skin condition
- Overindulgence in sedentary activities
- Excessive amount of time indoors and restricted sunlight exposure
- Obsession with inspection of the skin (mirror time)
- Constant scratching and picking of the skin
- A troubled relationship with food
And additional discussion on these is available as part of the Evaluate Your Habbits section of the eBook.
Accordingly, evaluating your currently established habits and removing the bad ones is likely to be of substantial benefit for the long term. On the other hand, if we fail to weed out the bad habits we’ve erroneously established, long term progress is likely to be difficult.
Ideas for Integration
Fundamentally, habits can be broken down into several components:
- Cue – environmental or mental trigger
- Mood – subconscious emotions and thoughts arise
- Desire – anticipation of something
- Action – engaging in the conditioned behavior
- Validation – behavior effects your mood
- Reinforcement – habit loop strengthens
Taken together, these components form the habit loop, which with each repetition continues to strengthen and feed itself.
Evolutionary, this made sense as it took out the mental processing required for repetitive behaviors. However, behaviors that are ultimately bad for us can also become habits. And since habits can evade conscious processing this loop can become very difficult to break.
In recent history, most habit change regimens and theories have focused on a modifying a component of the existing habit loop. Some of the more common methods include:
- Changing your environment and removing cues that trigger your established bad habits 
- Creating new cues (artifacts) and reminders in your environment can help establish new healthy habits, which can replace old habits and cues
- Modification of the mood (with medication)
Though theoretically sound, the effectiveness of such modifications has left much to be desired. More specifically, the success rates of such approaches appear to fall somewhere between 20%-30% [2, 3].
A Simple Approach to Mindfulness
A more recent approach to habit modification is mindfulness, which is all about introducing concussion thought into areas of behavior which are commonly confided to unconscious processing. And early research has shown that applying principles of mindfulness can match or exceed the most successful approaches currently being used .
Modern variants of mindfulness training appear to add much unnecessary structure to what is essentially a simple approach.
If we remove all the unnecessary complexity, what we have left is simple:
In order to take control of your bad habits, all you need to do is integrate conscious thought into the habit loop.
This integration creates a decision point in the loop allowing the mind to catch up.
Essentially, you are introducing a virus (conscious thought) into the habit loop, which disrupts the fundamental principles that define the habit. This allows you to alter the habit at it’s core and take control of your behavior.