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Why are some habits so hard to change

People come to see me with all manner of problems and of course quitting smoking is one of the most common. Even though the particular habit or behaviour started years earlier, sometimes there is an underlying reason why they have not been able to change it.

The failure to change is often about something completely different and changing the habit can be one stress too many for some.

It makes sense to look at this because on many occasions removing the underlying cause first, makes changing the habit easier and more permanent.

We all have stuff happening in our lives… some people have a lot more than others; some have stuff that is simply horrendous and in both these cases they remain in a highly stressed fight, flight or freeze state for years which affects their ongoing relationships, their work and their health and this excessive stress needs to be removed so that the person feels in control again.

The problem is that when the part of the brain that organises your memories ready for storage becomes overwhelmed, some of those memories do not get stored, instead, they remain current.

Friends and family typically find this difficult because they are unable to understand why you can’t let the thing go. They don’t understand the threat, fear or guilt is held in your body, not stored and often not even verbalised. You can’t ‘just let it go’.

Then unexpected little things can trigger full blown stress and anxiety again.