How Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Can Break Life Threatening Bad Habits


Most of your bad habits are caused by two things - stress and boredom. Everything from drinking excessive fluid, to high salt intake, to cutting your dialysis time, to overeating can be a simple response to stress or boredom.

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Bad habits address certain needs in your life, and for that reason, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients need to replace them with good habits that satisfy the same need. For example, If you reach for something to eat when you get stressed, then it would be a bad plan to "just stop eating" when that happens. Instead, you should come up with a different way to deal with stress and insert a new behavior, to replace reaching for food. Also, if you find that you frequently reduce your dialysis time whenever you feel bored, then you should develop a good habit such as completing a word search puzzle, bill paying, reading, exercising or letter writing while you dialyze to address your boredom.

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If you try to cut out bad habits without replacing them, then you will have certain needs that will be unmet, and it is going to be difficult to stick to a routine of "just don't do it" for very long. So the best steps that CKD patients can take when contending with a bad habit are as follows:

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Admit that you have a problem. Acknowledge that you have a habit you will like to break and consider the ways that the habit alters or affects your life. Accept that you would like to change this.

Choose a substitute for your bad habit. You need to have a plan ahead of time for how you will respond when you face he stress or boredom that prompts your bad habit.

Change your environment. Research suggests that sometimes our environments can cue us to perform certain behaviors, even if we are actively trying to stop. Try to find a way to change your scenery and see if your bad habit becomes less tempting. For instance, if a person with CKD noticed that s/he only ate salty foods when out at a restaurant, then s/he should try to find the time to cook fresh food at home.

Be patient. Conditioning yourself for good behaviors while eliminating bad habits is not easy and can be a long process. As much as you would like to, you will not probably stop doing unproductive habits overnight. Thus you should set realistic goals and plan to have the behavior wiped out in thirty days.

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Bad habits should be avoided or substituted  with good habits. This will not be easy but assures the CKD Community that it is worth it. If you get to the end of a month and find you need more time, take another thirty days. As long as you are still improving, do not pay too much attention to how long the process is taking. You will get there eventually.

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"How to Break Bad Habits." The Advcate