Creativity Burst: A Positive List for a Negative Habit

A Positive List for a Negative Habit

How can a positive list change any type of negative habit?

Well, it’s a creative exercise indeed to flip something we criticize ourselves for on its head and see the positive side, i.e. what may be the part of the habit we deemed as negative as something that is giving us something we are missing, longing for, and enacting that feels good.

Usually the way we interact with our bad habits and patterns is to criticize ourselves for having formed and maintained the habits. I often have found the more negative, critical talk about these habits, the more they take hold. Which is the exact opposite of what we want in our heads as we often seek to not do these very things again and again. However, what else to do, but to talk negatively to one’s self and keep up the habit of the negative behavior.

So, it may take a little effort to do this, but if you look at this idea as a creative exercise then it may not feel difficult at all. Also, it will allow for a break from the negativity toward self. In concept, the idea is simple. Take a few moments with yourself and sit down with a pen and paper in hand. From there, write at the top of the page — or wherever on the page — your bad habit or pattern.

Now, instead of thinking about all the bad you think you are for doing this habit and also how you judge the habit to be bad in and of itself — flip it! — and think about all of the good things that you get from doing this habit from the little to the big things. My guess is there is something positive that far outweighs the negative of engaging the pattern or habit that keeps it active for you.

After you see all that is positive in this negative habit, treat yourself compassionately. There are reasons that are valid that drive us to take on “bad” habits and behaviors. By allowing yourself to be compassionate and extending loving kindness may help you get more in touch with how this may be a way for you to express your anger, handle your anxiety, regulate your stress and more. No one action or thing is all bad. Opening up space to look at the positive part of whatever it is may help you tolerate the habit and it may also loosen some of the grip it has on your life.

This is a creative way to approach a bad habit or pattern. Give it a try and see what alights upon you. I hope compassion and kindness above all to yourself.