Do you want to change a habit?
You need this information.
A habit is something that happens over time, often unconsciously. Habits meet needs. Over time what was helpful initially might become unhelpful or even harmful, this is when change becomes necessary. Avoiding change and continuing habit patterns that are no longer supportive can feel like living on auto pilot.
Auto pilot is a mysterious and powerful thing. How often do you catch yourself doing something without remembering how you got there or when you began? In order to change a pattern first the pattern itself has to be noticed.
Becoming mindful of what we do makes space for change,
space for empowered choices to be made.
To get started, become mindful of daily routines, such as doing the dishes or washing your hair. Look for simple patterns that don't require much thought. These will be the best to notice and begin this inner dialogue process. Start by talking yourself through the action: I am letting water touch my hair. I am pouring the shampoo. I am lathering the liquid. The shampoo is turning to bubbles on my scalp. I am rushing. I am feeling small bubbles of rushing in my chest and on my scalp...
The practice is simple and profound. You might be surprised what is active that you have not seen before applying this mindfulness or noticing practice. There are circular patterns in the tiles of the bathroom shower; I have four freckles on my hand; the flower outside the kitchen window is blossoming. From this mindful and aware state, shift to other patterns that hold more of a charge than shampooing your hair or clearing the dishwasher, those with more noticeable emotional responses. Name the action, step by step. Name the thoughts and emotions as you observe and witness visual details. I notice a feeling of anxiety as I move the sponge across the yellow plate. I feel frustration and confusion. I think they are judging me.
Being objective, becoming the observer of the experience, is one way mindfulness can be made tangible. Separating personal identity from present experiences offers space for observing what is happening internally and externally. When thoughts and feelings go unchecked, they can take the lead, keep habits going that are not serving you. You are not your emotions. You are not your thoughts. Seeing the thoughts and emotions from a place of noticing without judgment (or the intention to be be objective) allows a more holistic perspective to be seen and new empowered decisions to be made. Choice can be shifted when the details of a pattern are seen. Likewise, observing emotions with this technique helps to see how they are present and held within unconscious habits. Noticing what is happening on the physical plane makes understanding what is happening in all other parts of self accessible. Emotions, thoughts, motives and desires become clear through being present and in the moment.
Integrating new patterns in meaningful and helpful ways happens when witnessing, observing and other mindfulness techniques are put to practice. Consistently. Make health, wellbeing, and satisfied living possible. Try this out and see what shifts. Challenge the auto pilot and turn old habits into conscious choice.
What are you wanting to shift?
Start with mindfulness (& repeat often),
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas