Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Habits die hard, but ……

We hear this quote from many people umpteen number of times whenever anyone is found doing things that are hard to resist. And I too repeated it when I recently visited Lahore and went to a good friend (and a fine blogger – so many visiting my blog too often would know who) to condole for the death of his mother. There, while talking to him, I noticed him time and again clinching the cigarette pack and the lighter. Since on my last visit, I had asked him to quit smoking, perhaps he was double minded of doing or not doing it. But finally, his determination gave in and he opened the pack to take out a cigarette. And naturally I forbade him strictly not to smoke. Thank God that he obliged and put back the cigarette. Awhile later another friend hopped in and now my friend found a good excuse to smoke since our common friend was into smoking too. But I still prevailed upon them.

A recent study links revival of left habits to patterns of neural activity in the brain that change when habits are formed. When the habits are quit, or so to say halted like smoking, these patterns remain stored in the brain like that on the hard disk. Whenever even a slightest inkling occurs for the habit, the same hidden patterns emerge and the quitter thinks as if the habit was never quit at all. And so the bad habit remerges as the smokers or chocolate eaters very often experience.

But if one is of great determination and courage, revival of remerging neural patterns can be defeated. The determination as solid and focused as that of my late father had. Many people say that smokers never quit smoking – they only take a rest for a while and then start again. But not my father. He smoked all along his life – three packs of ten cigarettes a day. Then one day he fell sick and the doctor advised him not to smoke – and that was the last day he touched a cigarette pack till he lived some 25 years thereafter. It takes great determination and courage to quit something devilish as its fun keeps pricking you to do it again.

If you are a smoker, try never to fall into the trap of hidden neural patterns that have been formed into your brain since the first day you started to smoke or eat chocolates. Decide once for all what is that you want: health or ill health. Choice is yours but make the decision with determination and courage. This is the only way out.

2 comments:

Electronic Sally said...

Easier said then done- but if there is a will there is a way.......

Shiirazi said...

Ya, it is the determination that matters.