Working on Habits

I started listening to a master class on breaking habits this morning. There was a lot of information in the two lectures I heard. The basis of what he was discussing is based on neurology and mindfulness. I have been meditating for several years now and am learning the joys of being mindful. This information got me thinking about what habits I have that keep me from accomplishing my goals or that are not exactly healthy and how my understanding of mindfulness can help.

I thought I would spread this blog post over a few weeks. First, because I don’t want to write a lot of information in one post. And second, because I want to try to do some of these things to see what or how it works.

The first thing that I wanted to pay attention to was what I am doing that is a habit. Well, there are many habits to choose from. The habit I chose was eating chocolate. I eat far less chocolate now than I used to a few months ago. But, it is still a habit because of when I eat it. I mostly eat chocolate when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Or that was what I thought. I took the time to look at when I was eating the chocolate and found that I was eating it while I was doing something else. And that something else was being done to help me avoid feelings. Usually, I ate chocolate when I was playing a computer game. And I was playing that to escape. So maybe the chocolate isn’t the problem. The problem was trying to escape.

I also thought about how I would keep track of all this information. The answer was: my trusty bullet journal. Since this is a new month I can add some pages to help track when I am playing the games and what I am feeling. And what the feelings are that I am trying to escape.

Those feelings differ from day to day. Sometimes it is to escape the claustrophobic feelings that accompany traumatic memories or fear of things I am trying to do that will bring me out of invisibility. The plan is that for one week I will keep track of what I am feeling when I am trying to escape. I am not going to try to change what I am doing. I want to understand what I feel when I start to escape and how I feel during and after.

This is where the mindfulness component comes in. I want to understand what I feel when I am playing and after I am playing. I will write down my thoughts on how I feel playing and what I experience after. To do this, I need to be mindful and pay attention to what I am feeling. I like playing games. I just need to be aware of why I am playing the games. So, for one week I want to keep track of what I am doing.

Does this make sense? Have you tried anything similar to help you with a habit?



2 thoughts on “Working on Habits

  1. This entry really speaks to me, Leslie. One thing I do with something like chocolate is that I try (and sometimes succeed) in only eating it mindfully. So I can’t just eat chocolate any old time. I have to be able to pay attention to its taste and texture when I eat. That seems to often help me eat less and enjoy more. Of course I often fail. But at least sometimes I succeed. Then I try to remember to compliment myself. See Rick Hanson on all of this: taking in the good.

    • Thanks, Michele, I have started looking at Hanson’s work. It is very interesting. I have also just started to try and eat mindfully. It has been very mind opening. Things I thought I enjoyed suddenly aren’t as appealing when I mindfully think about what I am really tasting and the feel of the food in my mouth. It is all a small step forward.

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