Two things may have happened for you during lockdown: you developed some unwanted habits or you discovered you have existing habits you want to change.
A break from ‘normal’ (eg lockdown, a holiday or illness) disrupts the systems that support your regular helpful routines and before you know it unwanted habits show up! Or the break gives us space to notice more clearly the unwanted patterns that you’d like to change.
So how can mindfulness help with changing a habit? Well, mindfulness is all about developing the skill of being able to choose where to put your attention (and therefore your energy). It’s the opposite of mindlessness, which is where you do things on autopilot. Mindfulness can…
Only when you have done these other things, start introducing a healthy replacement behaviour when you feel the urge. For example instead of emotional shopping spend time with friends or instead of snacking all evening go for a walk.
Notice that the old habit takes less energy (willpower) than the new habit. Initiating the new habit can feel like getting a heavy ball rolling: but once it’s rolling it will be easier to keep moving. By paying mindful attention to what happens when you engage in the habit you will feel more accepting of the amount of energy the new habit takes.
And try mindfulness meditation: even a few minutes a day of quiet focus on your breath can help you feel calmer and to think more clearly. You’ll be less likely to spend all your time in autopilot and will notice your triggers more easily. Best of all you’ll be more motivated and habits will be easier to change.
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