Breaking the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors

Breaking the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors

For anyone who is suffering from depression or emotional trauma of any kind, breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors is all about making healthy choices and curbing your mindset.  Breaking these habits can be very challenging, but know that you can reach and sustain long-term success with a little help.

At Sarah Rain Healing, our philosophy is and always has been that you should never have to heal alone. If you need support on your journey, don’t hesitate to contact us at (732) 351-8705.

Tips for Healthy Behavior Modification

We have put together this list of tips that can help you stop unhealthy behaviors in their tracks.  Take a look, and find your inner determination to alter your perspective:

No More Shame

The first step in breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors is to break the cycle of shame.  We’ve all been there. It’s easy to feel shame when faced with difficult emotions or behaviors that are perhaps out of our norm.  Shame is that negative feeling that we direct at ourselves and say, “I’m a bad person,” rather than “I did a bad thing.” This feeling drives self-destructive behaviors because we feel that we need them in order to ease our pain.  Unfortunately, engaging in these behaviors only perpetuations the shame and leads to more negative behaviors.

Instead, you need to allow yourself to replace harmful behaviors with those that are healthy and foster a sense of accomplishment, even if you start small.  Take responsibility for your missteps, and start making positive lifestyle choices. When you improve your own self-image, you will start to let go of shame and are less likely to fall back into bad habits.  

Ignore Negative Self-Talk

In order to break any self-destructive habit, whether big or small, you have to stop believing the negative self-talk.  It only makes things harder. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it, that you’re weak or stupid for falling into the trap.  This is not only destructive; it’s untrue. It’s time to change these harmful ways of thinking. So, next time you have negative thoughts about yourself, look at things from a new point of view.  If you’ve been telling yourself that you’ll never get past something, change your perspective, and tell yourself that you might not be able to dig out right now, but you know you can, and you will in time.

Find Support

Everyone needs a support system, whether they know it or not.  There is so much power in having friends, family and peers to call upon during difficult times of need.  As you work to break bad habits, tell your support network that you’re working to change certain self-destructive habits.  The input and encouragement that you’ll receive from them (when you let them in) is absolutely invaluable, and they can help hold you accountable for your actions.  They will empower you and be your cheerleaders even when you don’t have the strength to do it yourself.

Learn From Mistakes

You can’t change self-destructive behaviors and tendencies overnight.  But, you can learn from your mistakes. Failure is the ultimate tool to motivate, reflect, and change your course of action.  Take time to reflect on what made you choose to engage in self-destructive behaviors, even when you knew they were unhealthy. Then, think of how you can avoid going down that same path next time.  It’s all about having the right attitude about it so that you don’t engage in negative self-talk. Rather, you learn from your actions and find ways to better cope, forgive yourself and move on.

Breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors is all about learning from the past and preparing for the future.  You must become aware of the triggers that spark your unhealthy habits so that you can stop engaging in them. This way, when they pop up (and they will pop up), you can stay ahead of your thoughts, feelings and attitudes and use your coping strategies.      

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