(as published in Liv Magazine)

Whether you’re a smoker, espresso drinker, or chronic Facebook-checker, most of us have a habit we’d like cut down on, or even quit altogether. We speak to Joanne Schmitt from The Cabin and Dr. Quratulain Zaidi from MindnLife for some tips on how to break the cycle.

JOANNE SCHMITT (LEFT),  DR. ZAIDI (RIGHT)

What are some signs that our habit is becoming a problem?

Joanne Schmitt: The best way to define addiction in layman’s terms is continued use in spite of negative consequences. Those consequences might include: loss of control over the amounts or frequency a substance is taken, negative impact on health and wellbeing (such as hangovers or bouts of depression), behaviors that occur under the influence which are not aligned with the client’s values and produce a sense of shame and guilt, and also financial impact where more money is spent on the substances or process addiction than would be healthy.

Dr. Zaidi: Your caffeine and sugar habit becomes a problem when you start to crave it. This is a biological response, and you’ll notice without it, you’ll get migraines and feel like you can’t function without it. That’s when your habit is becoming a problem.

Short of checking ourselves into rehab, how can we kick a habit by ourselves?

Dr. Zaidi: Realizing that the choice to quit the habit is completely up to you. When you realize you’re in control and that you can quit your vice, you can. Also, find the pattern of your habit. Where is your habit coming from? Do you eat sugar when you’re stressed? Remove yourself from the situation or find an alternative, like having fruits instead of refined sugar.

So we’ve made it to a month. What are some self-care tips that can help us maintain our new lifestyle?

Dr. Zaidi: Remind yourself of all the reasons that you wanted to quit caffeine and the benefits of your new lifestyle. You’ll realize that once you quit caffeine and sugar, your body will feel better, more energetic and you won’t get the caffeine or sugar crashes. Most importantly, remember that there’s always a choice. If you’ve stuck with it for a month, you’ve already done it, and you have the choice and ability to maintain your new lifestyle.

Read the original article HERE

Dr. Quratulain Zaidi (BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD) is a mother and a member of the British Psychological Society and British Association Counselling & Psychotherapy and abides by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychology. She has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 12 years.  She specialises in assisting families with issues including parenting, teen issues, Cybersafety,  marriage guidance, post natal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating disorders, OCD and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children, for example ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.