Monday 17 June 2019

Making a good habit of your wellbeing

Calodagh McCumiskey - Wellbeing & Meditation

'Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit' -Aristotle

A habit is a programmed response to a situation. We can make a habit out of anything. It is a behaviour that has evolved to the extent that it is highly automatic and does not require constant attention to do. When we are learning to tie our shoelaces or cycle a bicycle, it requires strong focus and then we integrate it and it happens easily and almost automatically. After a while, it does not require conscious attention.

Habits are fixed patterns of how we work, think, feel, move and do things. We can be rigid in our habits which prevents us from learning new things and creating new behaviours and ways of being.

Approximately 50 percent of our daily actions are habitual. We often divide them into 'good' or 'bad' but this does not fully capture what they really are.

If we want to change anything about our lives, changing our habits to ones that are more in line with where we want to go and who and how we want to be lays strong foundations for a well, happy and fulfilling life.

If we want to change anything effort is required. We can even look at laziness as merely a habit of resting before you are tired.

Habits are our friends and they are all purposeful. Good habits and practices are friends of our higher self. Our mind controls our habits, and willpower controls the mind.

An action is resourceful if it contributes positively our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. Repetition of the action or pattern reinforces it and strengthens further repetition each time the stimulus the provoked the reaction happens.

The behaviour becomes more ingrained and automatic each time we do it. If emotions are involved, a habit can form after only one experience.

Discipline and effort are needed to create positive habits. A good habit is one that supports our wellbeing and a bad one is detrimental to it.

There are 3 types of habits. Motor habits are related to the physical body and our physical actions; such as our posture, and how we sit and stand. Our Intellectual habits are related to psychological processes and the quality of and how we use our intellect; such as logical thinking, observation and perception and our capacity to reason before taking decisions.

Our Habits of character are our traits expressed through habits. We can be friendly, helpful, honest and trusting. We can have a strong work ethic and be great time keepers. Habits of character are also strongly linked to emotional habits.

As the ancient wisdom tells us, our thoughts form our words. Our words are foundations for our actions. Our actions are foundations for our habits. Our habits create our character and our character is the foundation of our destiney.

If you want to change your habits, look at your mindset, your thoughts and then change the patterns. Science shows us that habits change more easily when we make small, positive incremental changes and maintain them consistently. And then repeat.

As Mark Twain say: 'Old habits cannot be thrown out the window, they should be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time'.

If you want to make any changes to your life, choose a few habits to improve. Integrate, hold and do more. You will be amazed at what becomes possible.

Gorey Guardian