It never fails; if I ever have to be in a crowded room full of people that I do not know, I will be stuck beside someone with an annoying nervous habit. They may be biting nails, knee bouncing, or finger tapping, but they are going to be sitting by me. According to Merriam-Webster, a habit is an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. In their defense, they cannot help it, right? That is the excuse that most people use for their habits including the extreme ones like drinking, smoking, and over-eating.
How do bad habits start?
· Stress - No specific item, as it varies for everyone.
· Nervous Habit - Begins as a response to stress. For example: I tend to knee bounce whenever I am bored in a meeting and I will also finger tap when irritated.
· Bad habit becomes involuntary - Occurs so much and regularly that it tends to go unnoticed, and the pattern has begun.
Common Annoying Bad Habits
· Nail biting
· Knee bouncing
· Finger tapping
3 Step Process to Conquering Nervous Bad Habits
1. Identify and eliminate stress - I know that being able to identify and eliminate stress in my life has many benefits, and that is why I choose to practice meditation to help with this. I have learned to know what I value, and the non-essentials should not receive my energy.
2. Aware of habit - Is what I'm doing serving a purpose? I catch myself doing annoying things as well as have them identified by others around me. I know that some are brave enough to tell me, but others can say everything in a glance. Take advantage of those subtle hints.
3. Voluntarily conquered - Identifying and eliminating stress, as well as becoming aware of a habit have been my best defenses in conquering bad habits. I tend to drive myself crazy once I am re-aware of the bad habit that I am performing. Is there a good habit that can replace a bad one?
Why Should I Worry About My Bad Habits?
Actions, whether voluntary or involuntary, are a reflection of a person. I do not like when my bad habits provide a picture of me to others that I am not trying to portray. If I am biting my nails I can be perceived as nervous when I want to be seen as confident. If I am knee bouncing or finger tapping I could be perceived as impatient or rude when I am really just struggling with my inner self. The lack of awareness creates the habit, so in turn becoming aware will help to overcome those annoying bad habits.