Family well-being is a habit

This video delves into the intricate process of forming habits, illustrating how reactions, both negative and positive, can become ingrained behaviours. It outlines a four-step approach to fostering habits that support family wellbeing, emphasizing the importance of recognizing cues, managing cravings, choosing constructive responses, and ultimately reaping positive rewards. By understanding and actively engaging in this process, viewers are encouraged to break harmful habits and cultivate healthier patterns of interaction within their relationships.

A man speaks:

What do you know about forming habits? Reacting badly, using abusive practices, and family violence can all be a habit in how to respond to difficult situations. In the same way, leaning in, being present, and supporting the wellbeing of others is also a habit.

So what is a habit? A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. So how do we form helpful habits? Welcome to: cue, craving, response, and reward - four simple steps in forming a habit of family wellbeing.

The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behaviour. It is a bit of information that captures our attention. For example, we might be annoyed with our partner asking us to do something. Cues are different for everyone, so a desire to act will be different for all of us.

Craving is about wanting something. We want a desired outcome, or we have no reason to act. We want a change in how we feel. For example, we want to change the feeling of guilt for not having done the thing our partner wants. We want to feel good about ourselves.

The next step is the response. The habit, which can take the form of a thought or an action, might involve shutting them down by yelling or arguing. Finally, the response delivers a reward. It gets us something we want in the short term.

As you know, this is not always healthy or helpful. In the example we have used, this might get your partner to back off. The problem with this process is that we've just reinforced a process that supports abusive practices.

Now let's flip it on its head and build a habit that supports family wellbeing. You get a cue that your partner is annoyed with you. She's asked you to do something. Think about what you desire. You don't want to feel bad.

So take a moment and think. If I yell and shout, I will make a bad situation worse. Now you can think, if I stay calm and talk with my partner about their frustrations, we might be able to figure a way through so we can get a different outcome.

This will make them and me feel okay and stay connected. The response might be to notice what is going on, lean into the relationship, and say something like, "You seem annoyed with me. I don't want the old habit where I start yelling and we end up miles apart to happen. Let's sit down and figure out what is going on."

Your challenge is to become a habit buster. Identify the range of habits that impact negatively on your relationship and work a different 4-step process.