If your intention is to create a new habit, you will most effectively do so when you pair it with an existing habit...
Your brain loves predictability AND new and wondrous experiences. Be sure you pair the new habit with a helpful, useful, amazing habit that you love, one that makes you feel good, and one that you value.
What are some of your helpful supportive most amazing habits? Ask yourself this question. Write down the answers. Take an earnest moment to hear your answer and take it to heart.
Some of my very favorite things to do are hiking, reading, breathing, pausing, meditating, napping, petting and cuddling with my pup. These are things that I do daily or perhaps even more frequently.
Let’s talk breathing….yes I do that a lot. And so do you. You will often hear me while guiding meditations, say “and the breath breathes itself”. Because it does and though that is obvious, it is something very important to acknowledge. https://soundcloud.com/expanding-pathways/body-sweep-meditation
Have you ever stopped to notice that your breath breathes itself? It is amazingly predictable, it's always there for you, you can count on it, it is the most predictable and stable occurrence in your body. It is the most effective (my opinion) tool we can access that is there for us constantly, that we can adjust, that reminds us we are alive. When we are breathing we are alive, stable, safe and secure. That is probably the most important message our breath has for us.
Choosing to pair meditation with breath seems like a pretty smart thing to do. Breath is 100% accessible. I am all about practicality. First off, I am a Virgo. Virgos love systems, details, and can be quite the utilitarians. I mean really…. Practical, pragmatic, functional. I am also a Physical Therapist and that is a double whammy for me!! PT’s looooove functional tools. Combine that with meditation instruction and awareness coaching and you have full on obsession! Oh and I forgot to mention I am a Midwest girl. Translation…. Resourceful! Practical! All the things!
To this point, I get it. I get the pain points of desiring to meditate but not knowing how to step in, I get feeling that there is no time to add one more thing to the day/the schedule, I get that your home or living space is loud and noisy and distracting, I understand that there a kabillion reasons why it won’t work. I also know the contrast.
I know from creating a meditation habit and teaching meditation and awareness, how this can impact life. I know how it feels to be unraveled at every detour in life, I know how it feels to come unglued with difficult people in a family, at work, in the grocery store, I get how it feels to feel all the feels of this big chaotic world we live in and to feel utterly lost in it.
Because I cracked that nut, I also know the other side of it. I know I can choose what I focus on, how I feel, and what I react to. I know I have the freedom to choose response overreaction. I know I can recognize big feels without acting them out or being swept up in them. I know I have tools. I know they work.
I know when I am anxious.. because I can feel it in my body. I know when I need to drop into my breathe and take a moment or two to recalibrate into a calmer state. I know how to adjust my nervous system and that it is a real thing….it is possible to do so!
I don’t just know this because I am a PT. I know this because I now have the skillset of consciously connecting to my breath for my greater good and the greater good of all I meet in the world. I know this personally and I know this because I have witnessed this amazing journey with my meditation students.
Meditation can seem like a big overwhelming undertaking. I assure you, meditation is as simple as connecting with your breath with deep practice and this doesn’t take long because our brain and our body are very acquainted with our breath and nervous system. I think of them as perpetual partners. They create skill sets together very quickly!
If I was a-bettin' girl, I would put money on the breath as a more efficient tool for anxiety (for example) as compared to:
Alcohol, marijuana, medication, a good debrief and cry with a close friend and even a mental health therapist. I am talking efficiency here, Ok. Admittedly alcohol and marijuana can seep into the bloodstream and work pretty fast. But the potential complications with these substances are as obvious as they are questionable for solely addressing anxiety. Therapy is, many times a great idea, very useful, and highly functional, but no matter how you look at it, people will benefit from and be the most empowered for the long term if they learn tools, an ongoing skill set that is accessible.
This is not to say you cannot use meditation and breath for anxiety in combination with some of the above. Some of the options I mentioned above are more helpful than others. So, by all means, do consider a combo effect. But please also realize that there is absolutely no substitute for a person to learn, from the inside out, how to adjust their nervous system with breath, meditation, and awareness. None!
Improving your relationship with yourself is the number one thing we as humans crave whether we are aware of it or not. We crave this. It is often confounded and confused with a craving for drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, social media, sex, and any other external source you can think of. People will often go to an external source in the form of a craving when the truth is, the craving is one that is coming from within, the craving of connecting to self.
We crave time, attention, and love from the inside out. Once we tap into this, it is nearly impossible to turn back. It is nearly impossible to ignore it. We grasp this quickly when learning and seeking contentment, peace, and well-being.
Pairing a new habit, such as meditation, with our breath is the fastest, most valid and most reliable way to learn a new skill set. Make no mistake, meditation is exactly that…a skill set. Anyone and everyone can learn. It does take some time and attention. No doubt. But anything worthwhile takes some time and attention and the journey is typically nothing short of amazing.
A while ago I asked my 8 Week Meditation & Awareness students: “what is the number one habit you created through taking this meditation course” http://bit.ly/8weekcourseinfo
Here are a few responses….
CONNECTION->>> ”I guess just the fact that if I don’t meditate now on any given day I feel like something is missing! I feel unconnected with “me”. So thankful for this practice” ~KK
DESIRE->>> ”Mine is feeling the need to meditate! It took me years to break down my mediation barriers. I am not a daily meditator but am now a regular meditator which is huge for me!” ~ SD
BEING->>> ”Being more in the now. Embracing the present moment regardless of how I feel. Being present helps me feel grounded, be more understanding, and compassionate. All things I needed. There are many more positive habits but this one has been life-changing. Thanks!” ~ CC
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the engagement of my students. I appreciate their sense of wonderment, their curiosity, and their hearts for stepping in and creating a beautiful internal landscape for themselves, a commitment to cultivating this internal landscape as they would an external landscape, and their impact they ultimately have in the worldly landscape. Let us never downplay the one or two-degree impact one person can have on the trajectory of the world.
Wishing you infinite blessings in your moments,