When you get dressed in the morning, do you do sock, sock, shoe, shoe, or sock, shoe, sock shoe? Most people don’t know without taking their shoes off and trying it. And even THEN they won’t be sure that they’re doing it the way they usually do. Unless you’re extremely obsessive, your body is on automatic pilot most of the time, and you aren’t even thinking about this stuff.
Here’s an experiment. Interlace your fingers. Don’t just sit there. Do it. Okay. If you’re right handed, odds are your right thumb will be the one on top. The dominant hand always takes charge. Now try switching up the fingers so that your other thumb is the one that’s on top. Feels weird, doesn’t it? Sit like that for a minute or two. Become one with the strangeness of that feeling. Your brain right now is probably freaking out. Suddenly YOU have taken over. Your brain doesn’t know how to deal with that.
The fact is that every living thing has habits. Some of these are strictly for preservation, such as choice of habitat. (Habitat. Habit. Coincidence? I don’t think so.) If a turtle suddenly decided it should live in the treetops, it wouldn’t last long. Other habits are beyond our explanation. For example, why do some types of trees grow in conical shapes and others in dome shapes?
Any smoker will tell you it’s difficult to kick that habit, but often the blame will be laid upon the doorstep of nicotine. Granted, the chemical addiction is a strong one, but another thing one must consider is the behavioral habits related to smoking. For example, if you have a habit of smoking while talking on the phone, you can’t expect to just stop that. You have to replace that habit with something, or your body is going to constantly be in a state of discomfort similar to the one you felt in the experiment above. Your body and your brain NEED habits. Any good hypnotist knows this. They will not just take your habits away, or your body will find something to fill that void. They will replace one habit with a hopefully less self-destructive one.
So the next time you look up with a start and realize that you’ve been doing something without thinking about it, just remember that you’re not always in the driver’s seat. And most of the time, thank goodness, that’s okay. Unless, of course, you’re operating heavy equipment…