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Lifestyle | Shake It Off: Losing Our Most Destructive Habits


Regardless of how we get there, many of us tend to fall into a pattern of self-destructive behavior. For some, it manifests as a serious mental barrier like anxiety and panic attacks. For others, it can manifest as addiction. For others, it might be self-harm. Recognizing when you’re caught in such a cycle is a huge first step to make. But you might be wondering where to go from now. Here, we’re going to look at how we take control and start treating ourselves better.

Don’t go it alone

Having support from friends, family, or just someone who can understand can be one of the most valuable tools to help you get out of your self-destructive patterns. You might feel isolated, but there are people who care about you. There are also people who understand what you’re going through. Sometimes those are two separate groups and finding your support from each can be the boost your recovery needs. Nowadays, services like 7 Cups are even making it easier to find that listening ear when you need it, offering advice for topics as specific as self-harm for free.

Changing our environment

Sometimes, a change isn’t just needed on the inside, but it’s needed on the outside, as well. You can’t truly make the steps to recovery you need while you’re still under all the same pressures that made you turn to those self-destructive behaviors in the first place. For instance, if you’re facing a drinking problem, then friends that push you to go out, to party and to join them when they’re drinking won’t help you resist the temptation. Similarly, if you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, then toxic friends that undermine your self-esteem might be doing you a lot more harm than good. It can difficult to break up these relationships or even ask people to be mindful of the challenges you’re facing, but it’s important you do.

Knowing when we need help

Support from good friends and people who understand what you’re going through is all well and good. But we shouldn’t ignore the clear benefits that professional help can offer. Environments like the Recovery Village can offer a safe, thoughtful place to recover, to seek therapy that makes it easier to survive isolation from a substance abuse program. Similarly, talking to your doctor might be able to help you highlight specific kinds of counseling that can help you get to the root of your problems and affect real changes in how you cope with various issues. People with substance abuse issues who quit without the right help are more likely to relapse.

Recognizing our behaviors

Mindfulness can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal when it comes to trying to change our own behaviors. How is does that is related to the idea of changing our environment. Sometimes, however, our triggers aren’t as simple as knowing that we should avoid a party or that peer pressure from our friends isn’t going to help us. Mindfulness is all about getting a better understanding our emotions and what causes us to react the way that we do. We can even learn to harness our negative emotions. For instance, if we’re feeling stressed and that makes us feel like self-harming, we can re-wire the trigger by acknowledging it and going for a run, instead. That way, we’re dealing with the aggression and stress in a much more positive way.

Celebrating our victories

The idea that these behaviors are “self-destructive” causes a lot of people facing them to wrongly assume that the issue is all because of them and that they are the root cause of their own suffering. While taking responsibility is crucial, taking the blame doesn’t help and ignores the many environmental factors that contribute to them. It can seriously damage your self-esteem which can only go on to make recovery more important. That’s why it’s important to measure your victories. Not only through tokens that you get because you’ve stayed sober for so many days. Celebrate the little victories in life. A new job. Something you’ve done at work. Progress on a personal project. Reading a new book. Recognizing our achievements isn’t something we think to do, so we don’t often realize the personal good that we do for ourselves and others that can make us see our own value much better.

Turning to the kind of self-destructive behaviors we’ve talked about is often a sign of deeper problems that you’ve been conditioned with your whole life. It’s not likely going to be a quick process to change them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change. Take it one step and one day at a time and keep your eyes set firmly ahead. You can take control of your life again.

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