Changing Habits

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Could you list all your daily routine tasks? What is your morning ritual? How about your evening  process getting ready for and going to bed? Easy, right. Yes, these habits probably change slightly or perhaps more dramatically when you are on vacation or away from home. But most of us have a solid routine we follow throughout our day, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are creatures of habits.

Following these routines in fact, helps us to meet our need for safety and security, accomplishing these necessary chores and tasks mindlessly and thoughtlessly. Being thoughtless and mindless is not a good practice in all areas of our lives. But it is for the daily mundane and necessary habits that take up much of our daily hours.

Take a moment and consider your regular and routine thoughts. Do you know what they are? These habitual thoughts change from time to time as your plans and events change. For instance, you might be considering all you want to accomplish before you take your summer holiday. It is unlikely that you are spending much time and energy thinking about your Christmas or Hanukkah celebration now. But it was only 6 or 7 months ago these habitual thoughts probably filled your thinking.

Just as you can change your morning ritual by brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast (although I don’t know why you would want to) you can also change your habitual thinking. But before you can change it, you need to first be aware of what you are thinking and telling yourself.

For instance:

 When you think about your sibling(s) what are your thoughts? Happy and pleasant?  Sad  and worried? Angry and disconnected?

When you think about your job, your boss or employees, your colleagues, your pay and benefits, what are your thoughts

When you think about your:   children?   finances?   spouse?  friends?  neighbors?             political representative?  weather?

What are you worrying about? How are you spending your thinking time? Are your habitual thoughts contributing to your Mental Health & Happiness? Maybe it’s time to change your thinking habits and switch to joy, appreciation and love. When you spend more time in grateful thinking, your actions, feelings, and physiology will also improve leading to improved Mental Health & Happiness.

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