How habits control us?

Up to 50% of what we do daily is controlled by the habits, the rest is probably genes.

How habits control our daily life?

The truth is, that habits control the major part of our day. They are so ingrained in our daily lives that we are mostly unaware of them. I only recently realized that exercise is my habit and I started to look at it in more detail.  Why do I have this habit and how did I get it? When I exercise it almost feels like I run on autopilot. In fact, the brain likes habits, because it helps to save the energy.  In the habit mode  the brain is liberated to  think about something else, for example what are you going to eat for your dinner.

Interestingly, but for the brain there is not much difference  between a good and a bad habit.  Any habit creates the pathways in the brain, that allows the brain to find the quickest way to complete a task, when we complete a task the brain is rewarding us, by releasing  the chemical named dopamine in our bloodstream.  

If we have good habits, like exercise, the brain gets the dopamine when we exercise. However, if we have a bad habit such as smoking, the brain also will release the dopamine. The most important thing is to be mindful of your daily habits. And at least to have more healthy habits and eliminate the others. 

Of course, it would be nice to have more healthy  habits. Good news is that, we can replace one habit with another. For example, is much easier to, to replace  bad habit such as smoking  with a healthier one such as exercise. This is the easier way to break the bad habit. Interestingly, exercise is especially effective example, because at  it also boosts the release of  serotonin, the happy hormone. The serotonin  is helping us to experience intense feelings of happiness and excitement. 

The truth is that exercise is a habit, that everyone could install, but why is so hard to start a new habit? In order to better understand the habit formation, we need to look at so called habit loop. In the next blog post we will explain in more detail of how the science recommends us to  form a new habit.

Every workout counts!




Tomas Vaicelis