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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ellis

Why I want you to STOP and introduce this new habit today.

As we approach October, I have been thinking a lot about habits. October is a campaign month and therefore we will see and hear a lot of press about STOPTOBER the NHS campaign to encourage smokers to quit, and "Go Sober" supported by the wonderful Macmillan Cancer Support encouraging people to go alcohol free for the month.

Smoking, drinking to excess, eating sugary foods are all of course habits. I They are widely recognized to be "bad" or destructive. Therefore, the encouragement to quit them is understandable.

But not all habits are bad! Some are neutral they neither push us forwards are back, for example I twizzle my hair endlessly. It's not a bad habit, it does not harm my health or that of others. It also doesn't really give me any kind of reward - it is just something I habitually do.

The best habits of course are "good ones". Those that are constructive and push us towards our goals and priorities. For example, if our goal is to run a marathon, regular running and training sessions must become a habit to achieve it. Or if a parent wants to prioritize family time, they need to develop a habit of leaving work on time to achieve that.

Recognizing if a habit is good or bad is perhaps the first step to changing it. A way to achieve this awareness is to STOP. So here is a new habit I'd like you to get into to help check in with your emotions, your habits and why you are continuing with habits even if they are not constructive ones.

So next time you catch yourself doing or craving a habit I want you to try this.

Stop what you are doing temporarily

Take a breath (or a few deep breaths)

Observe your thoughts and feelings just as it is.

Proceed with your day and if you need to change course.

Taking time out like this is a really great way to connect with your feelings and be more mindful of your actions. Give it a try today, just STOP!

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