Stopping a habit like hair pulling is hard and possible...
To break the habit, you must first see the hair pulling as a solution – a solution to a hidden problem. A solution that initially worked. It worked so well to resolve the issue that your autonomic nervous system (the command central of your inner workings) took notice and started calling on it more and more. It worked so well that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) began to call on the movement, your hand moving to your head and grasping the hair, more automatically each time the problem – or anticipation of the problem – was detected. Eventually, it became an embodied habit using the internal communication circuits with no conscious effort required.
Perhaps you have tried solutions for controlling your behavior. They may have worked for a short while, only to return or be replaced by another impulsive, unwanted behavior like tapping your foot or biting your nails. However, the hidden problem persists, leaving you dependent on some undesired behavior or movement that adds stress to daily life.
To develop a reliable solution, you need to first surface the hidden problem underlying the habit of hair pulling, nail-biting, foot-tapping, or skin picking. The hidden problem is dysregulation of your inner electrical system and feedback loops that have become maladaptive. Your ANS has grown to rely on that habit to release small bits of energy to keep you from overloading the circuits.
The root problem is that your fight/flight system got activated and pumped energy into the circuits. Still, the body wasn’t able to use it, discharge it, effectively. So it settled for a suboptimal solution that was available at the moment that temporarily released a small surge. Hence the repeated need for the hair-pulling, more and more frequently, yet unable to ever get a full discharge.
How this develops is as unique as you are. There are several patterns of life experiences at play, all rooted in the human characteristic that your ANS developed its regulating behaviors based on how your caregivers, with their embodied habits, interacted with you.
Through those interconnections of your nervous systems, you may have been left with inner circuitry that has:
* a fear response and activates fight/flight to the presence of any affective (emotional) signals
* underdeveloped emotional expressivity that harbors energy
* an imbalance in access to the sympathetic (gas pedal) and parasympathetic (brake) neural pathways
* trapped (trauma) energy
Using body-mind therapeutic approaches, you can restore from the past and grow in your ANS regulation to eliminate the need for your hair pulling solution, evolving your rhythm for healthy living.