Your entourage is a profound definition of who you are and can be defined in two general ways. The first is based on your geographical environment in which your physical surroundings, your manner of living, and your general adaptation are considered. The second is based on the social group with whom you chose to or have to spend your time. In this article, we will focus on the latter, leaving the first for its own editorial (see “You Are Where You Live”).

Group dynamics are complex yet predictable in that they are ever-changing and unique in every circumstance. This makes applicable paradigms frequently generalizable and one of the most common behavioral constituents of group dynamics is mimicry.

Individuals generally develop or maintain certain habits due to the people they frequent trying to establish interaction and acceptance. You acquire personal habits and share them in a group, and at the same time when entering a social group you are indirectly adopting theirs. Hence habits get enabled, supported, moulded and/or continued by the social group and we find ourselves encircled by a social hierarchy that is involved in our interests, pastimes, values, attitudes, religious or cultural convictions, etc. The more we identify with the social group, the more we imitate and adopt those ways of being or thinking. Whether these behaviors are positive or negative, we inherit the automatically through mimicry.

If you would like to separate yourself from certain bad habits you acquired, then take a moment to reflect deeply on how you adapted to your entourage (in this case within a social group) to determine what or who may be encouraging and supporting this habit. More often than not, the identification of the pivotal factor(s) is relatively simple; it is the admittance of it to then remove it from your daily routine that may be less straightforward since we are naturally resistant to flow against a social current.

However, if the bad habit is replaced with a good habit and this is further heartened by a positive change in entourage, then the behaviour will surely be transformed. The choice of a good environment is quite conducive to positively reprogramming behavioural changes.

The following is an example that may clarify the concept:

John has been drinking and smoking since college. When he goes out with his friends, the first thing they do is offer him a beer which in turn triggers his desire to accompany the beer with a smoke. The act conveys both a signal of welcome and a mark of identification.
Sometimes the drinking and smoking is relatively light as he spends a relaxing evening chatting with his friends. Sometimes going out for a night on the town is exaggerated by binging on alcohol and smoking much more than usual. Because he is emotionally tied to his friends and enjoys his evenings out, he not only continues to drink and smoke excessively to support the ritual of acceptance but encourages others to partake in order to join the group, thus perpetuating the cycle and ultimately becoming desensitized of the effects of the unhealthy substances.

For medical reasons, there comes a time when it is vital for John to admit his bad habits are taking a toll on his wellbeing. He finds it difficult, near impossible, to enjoy his evenings out with friends trying to continuously resist the offers of beers and cigarettes or breaks down and returns to his previous behavior pattern due to the influence of his entourage.

If John is serious about wanting to change, he has three options:
1. Stop befriending the group of peers that promote the habits he wants to change.
2. Find a new social group that prefers living the healthy lifestyle he would like to initiate and learn from them what he could do to for healthier pastimes.
3. Infuse a new sense and direction in the group and conduce them to a better lifestyle.

Regardless of which option is chosen, the result is the same: the social group must change in order for the patterns of behavior to change. Wisely choosing one’s group of peers allows one to be surrounded by those who promote the positive activities one might be seeking.

Author's Bio: 

Albert Garoli is a proficient health practitioner, medical researcher, and educator. He is a specialist in Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Herbology, Biophysics, and Homotoxicology. Currently, he is teaching in the Italian College of Osteopathy (C.I.O) as well as the Italian School for Oriental Medicine (ScuolaTao), in convention with University Sapienza of Rome. He is also the director of the Holonomics cooperative project. His many years of experience have brought him to a revolutionary understanding of human neurobiology which is clearly explained in his new book: The Evolutionary Glitch.