If you wish to give up a bad habit using worry beads there is one simple rule which will make you successful. That is the 21 day rule. Many of you will may have heard of this “wives’ tale” but I guarantee not may of you have actually used it. Like worry beads it has a strong basis in fact. Having tried it myself, it does work.
Do not try and give up more than one thing at a time and use your worry beads in substitution for what you are giving up. If there is more than one thing you wish to give up, pick the one you think will be the easiest. That way you can use your success with that example to strengthen your resolve with the tougher challenge.
I always think it is better to give an example to show how something works so I shall use my rather nasty habit of picking scabs, yuk. I first noticed my addiction when I had a tiny cut on the back of my hand. It started quite innocently where I would knock off the scab when I thought it had healed. Before long, and after the scab had grown some, I would play with it whilst thinking or nervous. Years passed and I got another scab on the back of the same hand. This scab took the same route and the months and years passed and the two scabs became affectionately known as my “worry lumps”. They were no longer scabs but calluses standing proud of my hand and part of my life.
I got my first set of worry beads to help me relax as I suffer from bad anxiety. They were a novelty to start with so I would fiddle with them whenever my hands were unoccupied. After a couple of days I noticed that my two worry lumps were not sore. It was then that I realised this additional benefit. Never before had I left these lumps alone and I was both shocked and delighted. If I could leave them alone for a couple of days without realising it, would it be possible that I could leave them alone permanently? It was then that I decided to challenge myself. Whilst I did know some of the time I was intentionally picking them, most of the time I would discover myself already picking, and it was too late. To achieve my goal I had to tackle both my conscious picking and sub-conscious picking.
I thought through a three pronged defence. Firstly, whenever I was not using both of my hands I would make myself use the worry beads. This meant that most of my craving never started. The second defence was to acknowledge my success. Each time I played with my worry beads I acknowledged that I was not picking. My use of the worry beads became the habit that replaced the bad habit. It became easier to pick up my worry beads as soon as I thought about picking. Lastly, whenever I realised I had started picking, instead of accepting my failure, I would immediately pick up my worry beads.
There were still many occasions when I would catch myself but over the days these started to reduce. I cannot say that it was 21 days before I completely stopped picking, it is not that prescriptive however by stopping picking for about that time it became so much easier. Without a habit it is far easier to stop a bad thing. My two lumps have turned into two discolorations on my hand. I do still find myself occasionally scratching at them but the habit I have now is to grab a set of worry beads. I wish I could show you before and after pictures but I had no idea when I started using worry beads I could stop such an imbedded habit.
If you have a bad habit like picking scabs or biting your nails try out worry beads for 21 days, if you take my experience, I am almost certain you will succeed. If you do succeed, try something a lot harder, perhaps losing weight or giving up smoking. Please let me know how you get on so that I may share your success with other readers.
The English Worry Bead Co.