DR. ANGELO O. SUBIDA, PSYCHOTHERAPIST.
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Humans are creatures of habit. Habits are either good or bad. They can be constructive or destructive, nurturing or not, of your personal growth.
Once your habits have been developed, they naturally turn autopilot. You just think, feel, or do them even without noticing or being aware of them.
Bad, unhelpful habits that have become autopilot are the ones that cause you and others to have problems. Do take note, for instance, that you may have the same automatic responses in specific situations.
I’m reminded of a fellow psychology student in the university who was annoyed with a new classmate, without realizing exactly why. He’d avoid her, snub her, or put her down in class discussions.
People can be addicted. Addiction is by nature habit-based.
When a certain bad habit, such as drinking, drug use, pornography, gambling, overspending, feeling insecure or rage, is entrenched psychologically, one has become caged. A slave or prisoner of his own making.
These kinds of reactions and habits are usually driven by unconscious emotional conditioning. The conditioning is often negative. It’s based on fear, a need to protect the ego from perceived or imagined threats.
When taken to extremes, these autopilot habit reactions can turn to psychopathology. Serious problems in mental health, like obsessive compulsive disorders, panic anxiety, depressive states, and even personality disorders.
To fly free, one with these life-damaging habits needs to learn to switch off the autopilot. You do that by first noticing the bad habits and patterns. Pay attention to the way you react and catch your self in the act of reacting.
When you notice the autopilot, mentally take a step back, and start asking your self, “What am I doing?” That could be a good beginning.