Lets Make it a Habit

I was talking to someone the other day about habits, and they mentioned something that I have been noodling over. I don’t remember the exact phrase, but the idea they posed was that habits are essentially neurological shortcuts that your brain takes to preserve energy and protect itself and you. For example, habits like chewing your nails are often what began as a self-soothing strategy, your brain got a calming chemical from that act and created a circuit that brought you back to that strategy when you needed soothing. Habits we develop to help our days go smoother, like packing lunch and getting our clothes out the night before, are ones that preserve and reserve brain and body energy for other things and don’t require our brains to go into crisis mode in the morning as we prepare for our days rushing around.

New neurological pathways require divergence from the old neurological pathways. If the old pathways have been used consistently or were created as response to stressful events, they will be harder to rewire. As the new neurological pathways become solid and the old pathways are abandoned, the brain may fight back, the residue from the old pathways doesn’t dissipate over night. “Old habits die hard” takes on a whole new level of truth.

This has really been helpful in reframing my thinking around habits and why people may struggle letting go of some of the habits they have that are causing them pain and heartache.

I am going to continue noodling on this one. Habits are hard to come by when you have ADHD, so this makes me curious about how other people with magic brains experience this… but, anyway it was curious and it has been sitting in my brain so I thought I would share it with you.