As the new year begins we naturally want to evaluate our lives and make changes for a more healthy and happy life. This is why it is extremely important to first understand how our brain functions. To simplify things, it comes down to survival and pleasure. We subconsciously do things based on some of our primal survival mechanisms, and our desire for pleasure. But sometimes if we are not aware of our auto behaviors we can easily end up doing things that actually hurt us like overeating, staying up too late, drinking too much, and procrastinating on the activities that are at the top of our priorities.
- Become Aware. Create a place in your home where you can practice observing your breath. This allows you to bridge your conscious awareness and subconscious, because your breath is on auto and your conscious awareness is not, by observing your breath you are strengthening your ability to have more power over your auto-responses. This way when the auto-response for pleasure kicks in like having another alcoholic drink, or staying up late, your awareness of it (like your awareness of your auto breath) will allow you to take the reigns of the autopilot choice and make a better choice for your overall wellbeing from your conscious awareness. It takes time and practice, the brain is like muscles and mindful meditation is the workout.
- Replace Bad Habits With Healthy Ones. Remember we are naturally pleasure seekers, so remove the pleasures that are harming you and replace them with ones that are not. First do become aware of what you want to remove and replace it with a healthier option. For example, if you are used to having an alcoholic beverage at night and now have gotten in the habit where you pour yourself a glass without even thinking about it and want to break that habit. Replace it with another non-alcoholic beverage like a cup of decaf tea.
- Keep It In Sight - Remember out of sight out of mind. So if you want to meditate more, or workout more for example than keep your yoga mat and weights out insight where you can see them daily. This will literally remind you to workout when you feel like watching TV. Turn up the music, and have fun with it, chances are you will want to do it more as your mind finds it more pleasurable as you form new healthy habits.
- Start Small & Stay Consistent - Whatever you want to do, start small and do it daily. Yes, it really is that simple, if you want to start working out make it as easy for yourself as possible. Remember that half the battle is actually starting. Tell yourself I will do this five-minute workout daily, and every time you want to talk yourself out of it just repeat this “it is just five minutes, that’s it” and do it! You may even find yourself doing two more reps after because energy creates more energy.
- Stay Positive - Take a moment to be grateful for one thing in your life and focus on it. Really allow your heart to feel what a gift it is to have what you have. I recently saw a young girl who lost a leg and paused to really appreciate my whole body. It is natural to always want more, but it is also important to take time to be grateful for all the gifts that you have been given in this beautiful life of yours. And in time your mind will naturally become more positive and see all of the blessings you already possess.
Sending you love, healthy, and many warm hugs in this very Happy 2022 New Year.