“Habit helps . . . habit hurts . . . “

Habit helps us.

Habit hurts us.

Bit of a contradiction, eh?

Wikipedia: Bust of Janus, Vatican Museums ……………………………………………………………………………
Our brain wants the best for us

The brain loves us and wants to serve us well. One of the great gifts the brain gives us is to rapidly (or less rapidly) give us what we need:

the capacity to do repetitive tasks easily and well.

“Mindlessly” as my friend says.

(Except of course it does require the mind, and requires its exquisite ability to do numerous valuable things “for us,” without our having to “think about it.” Habit is a great friend. It allows us to almost effortlessly do those things that we need to do, perhaps every day (drive a car, do the routine things needed to teach a class, do the routine things needed to nurture our families, and do the routine things needed in the workplace, etc., etc., etc.). 😮

So how can habit hurt us?

Habit can hurt us in two ways:

(1) Habit can allow our thinking patterns to become less active and dull, to the extent that we not only do the habit mindlessly,we don’t exercise our neuronal cells and brain circuitry (including the “non-electric” glial cells), and our brains become “flabby,” somewhat analogous to muscles that we don’t use actively.

(2) Habit can actually become counter-productive, because our brains love to “hang onto” things that are relatively effortless to do, and so the habit “hangs around” to “serve” us, to the detriment of the purpose it was originally intended to serve, which purpose would have been a good one in the beginning (or else our brain would not have started it up for us, eh?).

So here’s the “tricky” part.

How do you keep the habits that are still serving you well (piece of cake) and how do you let go of the habits that are hurting you (not as easy as you might think!).

Tune in to future posts and maybe we can share some ideas about the process of change.

Blessings and Friendship, Doc Meek, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. The paradox:

Habit helps efficiency. Habit hurts or limits change.

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