Heart, not head, helps change bad habits

Jan 02, 2007

Emotion, not logic, may be the real motivator for trying to change bad habits, research by U.S. doctors indicates.

Research indicates genes and environmental factors make it hard for some people to control their habits, The Washington Post said Tuesday. Researchers said what really helps to change behavior -- such as giving up smoking or becoming less sedentary -- is the desire to change, not just knowing change is needed.

Kelly Brownell, Yale Health, Emotion and Behavior Laboratory founder, said breaking bad habits involves intellectual, emotional and physical incentives -- and recognizing what triggers bad behavior in the first place. Conquering bad habits can succeed, he said, when people figure out what causes them.

"If you tend to struggle when you're lonely, then creating some kind of social network [may help conquer bad habits]. If you struggle when you're depressed, then getting help for depression makes sense," Brownell said.

Another researcher said support from others is key to successfully breaking a bad habit such as smoking or overeating.

Penalties work, too, researchers said. For example, local governments impose smoking bans, some health insurance companies charge higher premiums to policyholders with unhealthy habits and some companies chose not to hire smokers.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Shift to gay, lesbian, bisexual identities in early adulthood tied to depressive symptoms

Related Stories

Computerised vehicles are vulnerable to hacking and theft

Jan 27, 2015

Theft of vehicles is about as old as the notion of transport – from horse thieves to carjackers. No longer merely putting a brick through a window, vehicle thieves have continually adapted to new technology, ...

Earth's moon may not be critical to life

Jan 27, 2015

The Moon has long been viewed as a crucial component in creating an environment suitable for the evolution of complex life on Earth, but a number of scientific results in recent years have shown that perhaps our ...

Smart cup Vessyl is for drinking to quantified self

Jun 14, 2014

Doctors who care not only about human wellness but the economic waste of an inefficient health system riddled with wasted dollars on wrong medication, obesity, substance abuse and substandard medical team ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Recommended for you

Depression often co-occurs with joint diseases

27 minutes ago

Those suffering from depressive symptoms have an increased risk for physical diseases, especially for arthrosis and arthritis. These findings were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and ...

Poses of power are less powerful than we thought

2 hours ago

Legs apart, chest thrust forward, shoulders back: these 'power poses' are supposed to influence hormone production and willingness to take on risk in accordance with a study that attained global attention. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.