A ‘habit’ is a learned pattern of activity that has, through repetition, become automatic, fixed and apparently effortlessly carried out. Once our habits, which were often once consciously learned, become automatic and unconscious, they become very difficult to change as we may not ‘see’ or feel them. (As Alexander once said, ‘The things that don’t exist are the most difficult to get rid of.’) Our unconscious habits simply feel right to us. These unconscious habits often mean that we misuse our selves, so that we end up performing tasks in an unthinking habitual manner, which can result in unnecessary stress and tension and the development of symptoms such as aches or pain. (Also see faulty sensory appreciation.) Habits may be both physical and mental.

Our habitual misuse is addressed in Alexander lessons as we loosen the seemingly automatic link between a stimulus and our habitual response to it through learning inhibition and the directions – allowing us the freedom of choice, so that increasingly we, and not our habits, can consciously run our lives.

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