Break Your Vice
The Science Behind Habits
A friend offers you a cigarette while you're at a party. You enjoy a smoke now and then, and you're not hooked. So what's the harm? More than you realise, according to neuroscientists.
The thing is, when you repeat a behaviour, the neural pathways in your brain get reinforced. It's kind of like beating a trail through the bushveld: keep going over the same territory and eventually the underbrush will give way to a smooth-sailing path. The next time a prompt arrives, such as the offer of a cigarette, your brain will simply shift into autopilot and take the path of least resistance. Of course, this is good news when you're talking about healthy habits
like exercise and brushing your teeth, but it can just as easily lead to unhealthy behaviour.
Here's how to use the same principle to get rid of those unhealthy habits...
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