Habits and Behaviors

14 Habits and Behaviors

A habit is defined as a way of behaving that is repeated so often it no longer involves conscious thought. A habit might be a person brushing her teeth every night before bed, or walking the dog every morning before school or work. These habits would typically be considered "good" habits to have because they are of benefit to the person performing them. Other kinds of habits might be a person stealing one item from a department store every time he visits the store, or drinking alcohol every weekend at a friend's house. These habits would typically be considered "bad" habits because they may bring harm to the person performing them.

Another definition of habit is an addiction. Both good and bad habits can be addictive in nature. When someone eats a favorite cereal for breakfast every morning, that person has established a good habit because it is important to eat breakfast every day. If, though, the person became so dependent on eating a particular brand of cereal every morning that his mood changed for the worse if he was unable to eat the cereal one morning, his habit would be more serious. One could argue that he was addicted to the cereal. Of course one can't become physically addicted to a brand of cereal the way one can become physically addicted, for example, to the nicotine in cigarettes, but this does serve as an example of how a habit can sometimes turn in to a dangerous behavior.

This chapter will focus on several types of negative habits and behaviors and ways to treat them. From drugs and alcohol to internet addiction and gambling, these habits pose potentially life-threatening risks to all who partake of them.

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