“NOTHING SO NEEDS REFORMING
AS OTHER PEOPLE’S HABITS.” (Mark Twain)
A “habit” is defined as a relatively simple, routine behavior that is subconsciously repeated on a regular basis. Usually a person is not aware of the behavior at all. It occurs without thinking because the pattern of its use has long since been learned and internalized in the brain.
A habit itself is neither good nor bad; it is just a behavioral process developing in your brain. What makes them advantageous or not is their affect on your physical or psychological well being. Oddly, old habits are very hard to break and new habits form with difficulty over a long period of time.
So where are your habits stored? Scientists believe the center of habit formation is in the “basal ganglia,” a collection of tissues located at the base of the brain. Along with the cerebral cortex and thalamus, it directs motivational and emotional functioning, voluntary motor control, and (most importantly) procedural learning and habit development. It is life’s little instruction book for simple behavioral routines.
Recently, basal ganglia malfunction has become a prime suspect in medical disorders of movement, habit, and mood. The feedback between the basal ganglia and the cortex may be manifested by maladies such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
And finally, can a habit (good or bad) be eliminated? No, probably not. The best a person can hope for is that the habit can be subdued to a point that it doesn’t exhibit itself - that is until the appropriate triggers and context are present.