The title of this post, ‘train your brain to kick bad habits’, might sound like a medical thesis or a white paper on psychology. However, I got the inspiration for this from a comedy movie. I kid you not, there is an old Telugu comedy movie in which the protagonist wins the heart of his lady love by helping her family get over a few of their bad habits. It might sound whimsical and far fetched, but, the idea behind the plot is a simple trick to train your brain. Without further ado, I will give you a brief explanation of the story.
The father of the heroine has a bad habit of swearing and cursing for the smallest of reasons, this in turn is seen by his son as a carte blanche to misbehave and abuse everyone around him. Since the child’s behaviour stems from what he sees in his father, the hero first tackles the father. He sets about to cure the father short temper and habit of using swear words. Everytime he gets upset at anything and has the urge to start cursing, the hero advises the father to tell out all the inanimate objects in front of him. Instead of saying bad words, he would be listing harmless objects around him. This results in some good comedic situations, but the idea behind it works. Since the father is now consciously making an effort to watch what he says, he has subconsciously started moderating his speech and actions.
Watching his father change, the son also takes it up as a game. The hero challenges the child to play games and the loser has to learn any new lesson, moral, concept etc that the winner teaches. The child’s natural curiosity takes over and he begins to play and learn, thereby changes his aggressive and competitive spirit is channelled in the right way.
The movie might seem like a comedy and the problem may have been trivialised, but the fact remains that our brain is powerful enough to cure and change all our bad habits. With the will to change, we can make our brain bend the way we want. Like a machine, with all the right commands our brain will start churning out the best results every time.
Start with simple tasks like waking up at a set time daily. Before you sleep at night, tell your brain to wake up at a set time and repeat this command 5 times. When you practice this with a calm mind and make the effort to wake up when your brain reminds you, you will notice that without an alarm, your brain will wake you up. I have tried this and it did work for me.
In the same way, we can train our mind to stop many habits like picking things that do not belong to us, smoking, being lax in our work etc. It just takes a determined effort and anything is possible.
All that remains is for us to stop using excuses and start to make real efforts. I do not promise that the task is easy, yet the results are always worth the hard work we put in.