(Note to Reader: This is the fifth blog in a series of 8 blogs that I am sending to you about how to stop bad habits. It is taken from Week 4, The Urgent Necessity of Stopping Bad Habits in Happy School Advanced, the companion study to the book, Happy School. The other lessons can be found under the Happy School Advanced tab on this website.) 

When you participate in a destructive bad habit, it provides a hit of dopamine, a feel-good hormone but it depletes your natural pleasure center. So when you quit, you will actually feel worse for a little while until your pleasure centers heal. The sooner you quit, the sooner your brain can begin to heal and you can begin to walk about in freedom! I will walk about in freedom for I have sought out Your precepts. Ps. 119:45

You first have to stop and then sometimes endure the sadness until the pleasure center can rebuild itself. (The thinking in the first three lessons of Happy School will greatly help you, though, as you can now Move into Another Room in Your Brain.)

Human connection is the best source of dopamine. Consider taking the initiative to join a group or develop other relationships that you’re interested in. Giving up your bad habit is the first step, but you need a plan to fill the holes in your heart. The plan is three-pronged: growing your relationship with the Lord, finding and doing fulfilling work (Lesson 5 in Happy School), and human relationships (Lesson 9). 

You can’t change the OS (operating system) of your brain in an hour like you can with a computer. However, over time, you can rebuild neural pathways. Those with weak, delicate stomachs have to take more time and effort to watch their diet. You will have to watch yourself in your “area” for a while. In the grand scheme of life and because of the fabulous benefits of giving up your bad habit, that’s not a big deal! (Again, the lesson on self-pity can be accessed HERE.)

Remember, you don’t try to find out why you numb yourself, and then quit. You quit so you can clearly see why you numb yourself. 

Be sure to remember that sleep, healthy food, sunlight, fresh air, a lack of stress, tidying up, humor, the outdoors, prayer, lots of clean water, walking, and being with people you like are all healing and helpful for rebuilding brain chemistry. Take responsibility for doing things you love, for enjoying your life. 

Change your mind and you can easily end the conflict in your mind. 

The next blog is entitled, The 7 Steps to Overcome a Bad Habit. If you’d like to access all 8 blogs now, you can find them under the Happy School Advanced tab at JulieNGordon.com or HERE.