Human behavior and habits

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Habits are rituals and behaviors that we perform automatically without a thought and driven by sum  form of reward. The reward to eating chocolate is the high intake of sugar or similar the intake of alcohol and the reward relating to the change in the state of mind.

The habits we perform automatically free up resources for our brains to carry out other more complex tasks like solving problems or deciding what to eat for dinner.

The three categories of habits

We all have habits and we activate so many day by day. These habits can be divided into three categories.

The first being the habits that we simply don’t even notice because they are part of our daily routine like eating a certain cereal for breakfast or a morning snack. The second are positive habits which we work hard on establishing like exercise and healthy eating. The final group are negative habits that are considered bad for us like smoking and procrastinating.

Changing habits through research

Scientific research has shown that a certain part of the brain called the basal ganglia plays a crucial role in creating new habits and maintaining existing ones. This has lead us to understand why some people, even after major brain damage, will still do certain things they have always done before, like find their way home without any conscious previous recollection of where they are going.

These people often don’t even know how or why they can still do certain things, but if the basal ganglia is intact, those old habits are still available. The latest research also shows that habits are so ingrained in our brains that we keep acting in accordance with them even when we no longer benefit from them.

The results have also suggested that over 40% of what we do is determined not by decisions but by habits. With this knowledge we now know we can change a huge part of our lives just by eliminating negative habits and create positive ones instead. By plotting negative and positive habits using the Torri Enso planner we raise conscious awareness to find ways to reduce our negative habits while introducing positive habits.