Stop Unhealthy Habits?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 20:16
All of my life, I knew something was missing. I didn't know what it was; I just knew that I did things differently from the way other people did things.
When I went through a buffet line, my mother always said, "Nan, your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" My plate was piled high while the others resembled what you might be served in a fine restaurant.
When I ate candy, I never knew when to stop ... I would just eat until it was all gone ... or I felt sick.
When I painted a room, I would "have" to continue until it was complete, even if it meant painting into the wee hours of the morning.
Whenever I drank alcohol, I couldn't stop until I passed out, or as I put it, "went to sleep!"
I finally figured it out.... I was born without an "Enough" Button!
If any of this sounds familiar to you, please continue reading...the steps below helped me to learn how to know what I really needed, rather than just reaching for more of what was a familiar habit providing immediate, but not lasting, relief.
- In the beginning, create the habit of awareness by checking in with yourself every five or ten minutes. Ask yourself, "What do I need right now?" This is different from "What do I want right now?" For example, if you are at work and feel tired, you might want a chocolate bar, but you really need to close your door and take a five or ten minute nap.
- Next, learn how to discern whether it is a "want" or a "need." The best way to do this is to notice from where you sense the message, i.e., is it coming from the area of your brain or coming from the area of your gut? Be suspicious of the brain...this is where all our "shoulds" reside ... they are mostly about other people's needs, things we have been trained to believe, experiences we have had in the past. I call it "The Brain Train"! Always trust your gut ... it contains your Internal Guidance System ... the place from which your Wisdom emanates. It runs your whole system ... letting you know when you are hungry, thirsty, tired, lonely, etc. It always requires your taking a step to quiet it. Remember, you don't want to mute or numb it; you want instead to satisfy the genuine need it is signalling. Then it will no longer need to send the message of discomfort to get your attention, and you immediately will feel peaceful again.
- Next ask, "How can I do what I need to do to satisfy my need?" So often we deny the possibility of meeting our needs altogether, thinking (again the brain train), it is impossible, so we automatically reach for what our brains have learned will mute our internal guidance systems rather than what will answer our needs. When we do this, unfortunately, we stay in this place of wanting rather than having, trapped in a cycle of addiction.
Once you simply have asked the question "How?" you will have a much better chance of identifying your path to satisfaction. Your brain will be scanning for the answer and will recognize it when it appears.
- Then actually do it! You take care of yourself ... you give yourself what you truly need!
Keep practicing these steps until your body becomes familiar with feeling satisfied, knowing it has had just enough of what it needs. If you find you need a safe place to practice or more support while doing so, please explore joining us daily on our HappyHour call. Most of us are addicted to the wanting...whether it is craving a cigarette, counting the minutes to a cocktail, grazing the pantry for our next snack. We often need help in learning how to stay in a place of true satisfaction. Once you are automatically identifying and responding to your true needs, your days of wanting will be a thing of the past. Your "enough" button will be functioning again, and you will feel fulfilled and satisfied and healthy at last!!
And that is more than enough!