Have you ever wondered why it takes so much effort to make lasting positive changes in your life?
Hint: It takes more than just knowing “the right” things to do.
Knowing what is health promoting doesn’t always translate into doing what is health promoting. For example, we all know that smoking and eating too much sugar is unhealthy. We know that exercise is good for us. We know that we need adequate sleep each night. We know that we need more whole foods and less processed foods and we know that we should drink at least 8 ounces of water a day. This isn’t new news.
To actually put a change into effect in our lives it takes more than just knowing something. If we don’t identify underlying fundamental beliefs and patterns that drive our behaviors and shift at this deeper level, then our efforts often fall short. Take that failed list of past New Year’s resolutions, or diets, or exercise programs for example.
Making a significant change in your health is about alignment. It is about shifting the things that we do in such a fundamental way that we create new habits to help us achieve what we want. By making our new habits second nature, we don’t encounter as much resistance, effort, or issues of self-control. Shifting our habits at this level actually changes us.
It all starts with mindful awareness. Becoming aware of these 4 things can make a huge impact in your health and wellbeing:
- Awareness of what you are thinking.
- Awareness of what you are feeling.
- Awareness of what you are doing.
- And awareness of the way that you want to feel.
When we develop awareness on these levels, we can create better resonance, and harmony in our healing process. We begin to see the stories that drive patterns of behaviors in our lives. Mindfulness helps us tune-in to our bodies and recognize what we really need. Mindfulness helps us stay with the present moment to find ways to help our bodies heal in this moment. And mindfulness can help us align with the actions and behaviors that best support healing.
When we become mindfully aware of the things we are doing in life, we can stop trying to be something else, or to achieve something else. Instead, when we are mindful, we recognize at a profound level when our actions are not aligned with what it is that we want.
And here is the best part… mindfulness is actually quite simple. You don’t have to sit on a mat and meditate for hours at a time to become mindful. You don’t have to take dozens of classes or read hundred of books. To become mindful, you simply must become aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You don’t have to critique them, or fix them, or make them go away. Mindfulness is about simply noticing the thoughts that continually run through your mind, your behaviors, and your emotional patterns. This part takes practice… but it doesn’t have to be “hard.”
With awareness comes the power to make choices that will better serve your health on multiple levels. Awareness begins to shift you as you align your thoughts and actions with who you are at your core, underneath all of the incessant chatter and conditioning. It is like turning the light on in a dark room. Aha… now I can see.
As a wellness practice, try to notice any unconscious patterns that might be at play in your life. This might be something that you do repeatedly such as, overeat, or rush, or drink too much, or overcommit, or create excessive business. You might notice an emotional pattern of reactivity such as frequently feeling angry, or depressed, or overwhelmed, or ashamed, or disappointed. You might notice a habituated pattern of thought such as “things don’t work out for me,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m afraid I might fail,” or “those other people are so incompetent,” etc.
And do yourself a favor… if you recognize a pattern, don’t judge it, for goodness sake. We are all human and we each have challenges and struggles. See if you can become aware of your patterns with a curious, open, questioning mind, as in “I wonder why I am thinking this? Why did I do that? Why am I feeling this way again?”
The answers are inside of you. Listen carefully. They just might hold a key to your wholeness and wellbeing.