SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As COVID-19 continues its span, the Centers for Disease control is reminding people to avoid touching their face with unwashed hands.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, touching your face is not the main way people get infected with the coronavirus, but still, the public health institute recommends not touching your nose, mouth or eyes with unwashed hands, because the virus does spread this way.
Touching your face is one of the most common habits, and Steven Chen, a licensed psychologist in Salt Lake County, says, it takes time to change that behavior.
“If you think of human behavior, a simple model of human behavior is made up of three different components; thoughts, emotions or feelings, and behavior, and all of them act with each other.”
Chen provided ABC4 News with an example.
“If we feel an itch, either consciously or unconsciously, we might say to ourselves, ‘oh, my face feels itchy, or my nose itches.’ And then we might feel uncomfortable, or we might feel some negative emotion. And then we might use a behavior like itch our face.”
He told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson that if you change the three components listed above, you can change your behavior.
“We have to use a different thought to insert into our mind to disrupt the other thought.”
As for a solution, Chen says be cognizant of what you’re doing.
“Awareness is a very big component in us having an awareness of the connection between our thoughts, our feelings and our behavior, and then consciously instituting some new thinking to disrupt our old pattern.”
Changing a pattern of behavior can take anywhere from one day to a few weeks, according to Chen.
“It could take you five or 10 minutes if you have a significantly high motivation, and you have a very strong reason motivation to change jobs. Generally speaking, to change a significant behavior, it can take 21 to 30 days to change a behavioral pattern.”