You love rituals? Then, this call to free habits from prison might make you ponder its ordinariness …
They make life easy for us, and they make life difficult for us. And we hardly notice both. In my everyday life it looks like this: With red I step on the brakes without thinking, and if I’m offered a biscuit, preferably heather sand or biscuit with chocolate icing, I also say no without thinking. Habits let us do the right thing unthinkingly – first couple, then switch. You save energy and time and save our lives by meeting an ambulance, performing a routine cardiac massage, or a lorry driver who habitually stops when you enter the zebra crossing. Habits just as rashly let us do the wrong or questionable thing, from the carelessly cracked biscuit to the glass of wine, the cigar after dinner and the evening spent idly on the couch.
Autopilot mode or turn off habits?
It would be good not to get used to your own habits and to occasionally bring them out of their drab existence in the shadow of carelessness, to analyze, sort, correct, and possibly polish them. “The habits we used to get used to and trained long ago,” explains Dr. Martina Assmann, mindfulness trainer and specialist in occupational medicine. “Many of them make sense and give us the opportunity to do everyday activities without any effort in autopilot mode, and you should not think about cycling, but there are bad habits that do not serve a good cause and to stop at what you do without thinking, and ask yourself: why am I doing it, how am I doing and how would I feel if I did not? “
Changing habits is like walking through a meadow with tall grass. After one time you leave no traces, only with the time creates a trail.
In my particular case, a lot of biscuits in my environment might last longer and many a box of chocolates would reach their expiry date. Going for the search for unpleasant habits, making them conscious and gradually overwriting them with other, new and good habits: Martina Assmann advises. And all this less with brute volition than with gentle perseverance. “Of the so-called New Year’s decisions, which are based on sheer willpower, only one to two percent work,” says the expert. ” Changing habits is like walking through a meadow with tall grass, and after a while you do not leave any traces, only with time does a trail emerge.”
Make habits out of habits
In the routine, not only the old-established sources of interference go unnoticed, but also those habits that actually have the makings of small, sparkling day highlights. Not every toothbrushing needs to be an orgasmic experience, not every pair of shoes is a sacred act. But why not make one or the other routine a ritual? This may be the eyeliner in the morning or the shaking of the bed, the apathetic showering, the hastily devoured dinner. “If you consciously leave your key at the same place each time you come home, you will never look for it again,” says Martina Assmann. I’m going to shed some habits and become aware of them. Because with actions it is as with humans: they blossom, if you pay attention to them.
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