How can I help myself and change my behavior?
I've hit my head on walls and floors ever since I was young. I sometimes still do it but I don't exactly know why,
I have anxiety and I had a rough childhood but now I'll start to hit my head and sometimes not realize it but I don't know how to stop or even why I'm doing it.
How can I help myself to change my behavior?
One step towards change would be to decide why you are hitting your head. Is it a sensory sensation, you like the way it feels, are you trying to “hammer out” thoughts and feelings you do not want to think or feel? Also consider other ways to alleviate that desire, the feeling, the result you get from banging your head. Perhaps every time, you do not hit your head you give yourself some micro reward. Also when you do hit your head, you could find an activity that would deter you. Working with a therapist or counselor who has knowledge of behavior modifications.
When I am helping clients work in this area there are many helpful steps toward extinguishing a behavior.
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It must be painful to do this behavior. Something is causing your pain. I know that’s staring the obvious. But taking a step back. Taking some deep breaths might allow you to determine what’s underlying your need to self harm. If you feel you have to harm yourself then a technique is to hold an ice cube. The cold will divert your attention away from your emotional pain.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown over the years to be effective at helping people recognize and change their behaviors. But, as much potential as therapy has for every individual, some people seem to have the keys to successful therapy while others don’t.
Some of this stems from what the individuals’ expectations were going into therapy. Some from how much effort they gave, and others from whether or not there was a good personality fit between patient and therapist.
For therapy to be successful, you MUST be realistic about the process. It is not linear, and it is not quick. This is particularly true if you are dealing with complex, long-term problems. This doesn’t mean you can expect to be in therapy for the rest of your life or even many, many years. It simply means you must appreciate the reality of what you can expect and how quickly.
If you are interested in exploring treatment options, please get in touch with us. We'd be happy to discuss how we may be able to help during a free phone consultation. Fill out the form below to get started. Not quite ready? Read more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy here.
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Give yourself a lot of empathy and care for having had a rough childhood and realizing that life can be better than how you were treated when growing up.
Be patient with yourself too bc lasting change takes time.
Alternatives to hitting your head require constant gentle reminders to do these new behaviors, or if you've discovered a satisfying alternative in one moment, time is required for you to repeat this alternative until it feels natural.
Anxiety usually means someone did not feel well understood growing up and was rushed to comply with the wishes of others who were a regular part of their lives.
Anxiety lessens as the person starts to know and accept their wishes and needs as valid. Allow yourself to learn who you truly are in the spirit of accepting whatever you discover about yourself.
The behaviors will naturally change with your new understanding and self acceptance.
Good luck and enjoy this self discovery project!
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Hello. I have to wonder from a behavioral perspective if what you are doing is useful for you. In other words, does it serve a purpose in some way when you find yourself doing it. Yes, this could well be an expression of anxiety, or maybe some type of coping skill you have developed over the years to deal with stressful situations. Yet it sounds like you have developed a sort of knee-jerk behavioral conditioning that causes you to do this behavior during specific (or perhaps even non-specific) circumstances. Do you think it is a self-soothing behavior? Do you feel good after you have done it? The behavior itself is likely causing some form of slow physical damage, so I would recommend you have yourself checked by a doctor, to rule out any injury. If none exists, this obviously doesn't excuse the behavior, it just says that for the moment luck is on your side.
When we do any behavior of any kind, it is good to ask if what we are doing has merit or value. Is the behavior helping us to solve our problem, or is it merely creating yet another problem by doing the behavior in the first place. In the same way that a person might drink excessively because they are stressed and need to cope with some unresolved issue, when they are done drinking the original problem will still likely be there, but now they are intoxicated. No closer to solving the issue. When we deal with things like anxiety or depression, we need to do things that work on dealing with the symptoms, but also get to the root issue that created those feelings and find effective solutions. So the things we do to cope with life events need to not be ones that cause us harm, but rather support us as we move forward and work to deal with what life throws at us.
Sometimes seeking support from a friend or a counselor is a good idea. Being given the opportunity to express your feelings about what is going on around you and getting feedback and insight from others is much more effective than actions of self-harm, wouldn't you agree? So I would encourage you to find a counselor or a trusted friend who can help you find positive behaviors you can take to deal with your feelings, as you also work to find the answers to the day to day issues of living a life filled with promise and opportunity.
Reach out if you need help...there will likely be a hand there waiting for you.
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The best way to handle anxiety of this level is with a combination of appropriate medication given to you by a medical doctor, and therapy to help you understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are causing the anxiety. This is not something that anyone should just “white knuckle” and try to get through on their own with no help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a technique that has been proven helpful for depression and anxiety. This takes a therapist trained in CBT. You will learn to recognize when and why you perform the behavior of hitting your head, help you deal with the underlying cause of this, and replace the behavior with a more positive behavior. You'll learn coping skills.
You mention having a rough childhood. Anyone who has experienced trauma like this, especially long-term ongoing trauma from abuse of any kind, definitely does not need "exposure therapy", which is what is recommended for phobias. You need a therapist trained specifically in trauma informed therapy.
You are on the right path by recognizing there is an issue and what it is. Good luck with your healing journey!
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