10:50pm Saturday 16 December 2017

Kicking bad habits requires change in thinking

What if kicking a habit meant simply making a commitment to change and then pouf — it magically disappeared?

“If only it was that easy,” says Owen Moran, one of two health promotion specialists in ConcordiaHealth Services. “I’d be happily out of a job.”

A quick reality check shows that changing behaviour can be very difficult, even overwhelming, especially when it involves an addictive drug like nicotine.

That’s where Concordia Health Services comes in. “We are here to get everyone in the Concordia community on the road to better health,” continues Moran. “We believe that the key for people to stop doing things they know are bad for their health is to get them to change how they think. And my job is to help them to do that.”

The power of thinking is a contributing factor for the students who come to Concordia. With help from professionals like Moran, Concordians can learn how to think their way to way to better health, a skill as important as writing essays or designing clinical trials.

Techniques for altering negative thinking patterns lie at the heart of a cognitive, action-based approach by Concordia Health Services. The strategies are based on solid research and designed with students in mind. By undermining destructive thoughts and replacing them with positive thinking, people re-orient themselves toward problem solving, rather than problem wallowing.

“Thinking one’s way to better health means adopting and maintaining healthy behaviours,” says Moran. “For instance, to help people quit smoking, we provide them with a step-by-step model to follow. We offer exercises and checklists to help them track their progress from feelings of deprivation to an attitude of freedom. They learn to see that quitting is a gift they are giving themselves.”
 
Cognitive approaches to behaviour change have been shown to help people facing a broad range of problems including depression, anxiety, panic fears, eating issues and addiction. Concordia Health Services has the knowledge and a proven track record in using the approach to assist students and faculty.

A good place to start tackling bad habits is to visit the Health Services website, which has guidelines on achieving health goals, quitting smoking, eating healthily and managing stress in the Health Notes Newsletter section. Moran organizes workshops and does personal counselling and can be contacted at Health Services. Student Learning Services has information regarding habits related schoolwork.
 
Related links:
•  Concordia Health Services
•  Concordia Student Learning Services
•  Guides and worksheets referred to in article: “How to Effectively Set, Achieve and Maintain Health Goals,” “Quitting Smoking for Good,” “Stress Management,” “Worksheet Plan a Day of Healthy Eating”


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