Pain isn’t always something to be avoided
What comes to your mind when I say “pain”? What comes to your mind when I say “pleasure”? Humans have the tendency to run from pain and search for pleasure. It is common sense, but sometimes we don’t see the outcome of pain and pleasure.
Habits are behaviors that some of us practice unconsciously, while others are conscious of them. We have the habit of traveling, cooking, exercising, partying, working, watching TV, reading, shopping, gathering with the family and so on. Habits are behaviors that the human being can’t escape from. Even not having a habitual pattern creates a pattern of chaos, which can be classified as a bad habit.
Good habits are those that contribute positively to our lives, enhancing our health, financial state, family, mind, body and overall well-being. Bad habits are detrimental to our well-being, making us struggle in life.
An example of a good habit is exercising daily. Exercise has many benefits and contributes positively to our lives. An example of a bad habit is eating junk food often. Junk food has been attributed to many diseases including diabetes, cancer and obesity.
People can give a different meaning to the same event based on their past experiences, present reality and belief system. For instance, someone who perceives the muscle burn of weight lifting as a desired result will react positively to it. On the other hand, someone who thinks weight lifting causes injuries might react negatively to the burn.
Bad habits can bring momentary pleasure at first, but in the long term they bring negative consequences. I think this is the reason why they are called bad habits. The pleasure or relief that these habits provide attracts us. It’s easy to get stuck in bad habits since the perception of the pleasure is in the moment; usually people don’t think about the future consequences.
People who fight bad habits actually do study the consequences, and they stay away from them. This might be a person who has learned from past experience or who is intelligent enough to understand the pattern of bad habits.
Good habits work the opposite way: They start with pain or discomfort, but they end up contributing positively to our well-being. This is the reason why they are called good habits. Take exercise as an example — there is discomfort and pain at the beginning. Many people are not willing to go through the beginning of a workout program because the gratification is not immediate. The gratification comes when the event is over and in the long term.
So when people are looking for prompt relief, they usually have a positive perception of a bad habit. Only people who are aware of bad habits can see the future outcome: same event, but different perception. People who run away from discomfort are not willing to start a good habit, and people who study good habits are willing to practice them because they have already thought about the results.
Acquiring good habits adds value to your life. Good habits don’t necessarily provide pleasure right away, but you should consider all the consequences of good habits as well as bad habits and see where they lead you. The reality is that people who are healthy and maintain their healthy weight practice good habits. The secret is pretty simple: Study your habits, and make sure they’re good habits to improve your quality of life.
Sandro Torres is a fitness professional and owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale. His column appears on the second Tuesday of the month in Body & More.
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