Having balance in your day-to-day activities has deep roots in understanding the differences between making choices and doing something out of habit. We often move through a day not giving much attention to why we’re doing what we do or to the specific order we do these mundane things. For instance, upon waking in the morning you probably brush your teeth, comb your hair, get dressed, and have breakfast. Is the order for each task determined by a self-honoring choice – a choice that is healthy for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being – or a ritual habit – anything you do repeatedly that happens automatically and feels almost unconscious? This level of understanding dwells in spiritual psychology. You may be more familiar with this being called Radiant Health and Well-Being which is focusing on understanding your inner status, your inner state of being, your inner feelings and responses – your sense of things – and then aligning that with how you present yourself or rather how you represent yourself in the world.
While it sounds deep and overwhelming, I assure you, it’s not. Knowing the whys behind what you’re doing helps finding balance in life and work something you have power over. It puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you the knowledge and skills to change something that isn’t working well for you. I’m guessing that many things in your work life and daily personal life may be happening because of a ritual habit. It’s done out of repetition that has been happening for some time. If these choices aren’t honoring how you want to live, it’s time for a change for the better.
Would you be surprised to learn habitual ways of feeling or habitual ways of thinking (aka your attitude) are also habitual patterns of behaving? It’s true. While talking with long-time friend and spiritual psychologist, Ishika Aswani on my podcast we dove into discussing this topic and shared ways to take mindful action towards change. You can listen to my full length podcast, The Psychology of Habits with Ishika Aswani by clicking here.
Here’s an example of how habitual feelings and attitude could be tied to feelings of guilt and what to do if that guilt is misplaced and needs a change in your attitude.
Lara has made a choice to start exercising regularly. In sharing her plans with friends and family Lara tells them she is going to be selfish and take care of herself first. Notice Lara’s labeled this act toward getting fit and healthy as selfish. But is it? Lara’s attitude towards doing something beneficial for her body and whole wellness should never be viewed as selfish. This is actually a self-honoring choice that she shouldn’t feel guilty about making. Selfishness ties in with a feeling of guilt. That’s an attitude that needs changed. In other words, you may be doing things that are self honoring but if you somehow believe that what you’re doing is selfish and hence carry an attitude of guilt because of what you’re doing for yourself, then guilt is actually the predominant attitude. What is initially a self-honoring choice may end up actually harming your state of well-being because of the guilt involved.
Attitude Adjustment Time
What should Lara do? She should move forward with her plans to exercise and be happy for her decision to make a positive healthy change. She should also acknowledge that anything that is repeated – any action, thought, or feeling allowed to repeat – can become a ritual habit and can continue to repeat as an unconscious automatic response. When this happens, the habit takes on a life of its own. It takes mindful awareness to stop a habit from taking over on a mental, emotional, or physical level. It may even take talking with a coach or counselor to break the habit. If you feel talking with someone about conquering an unhealthy habit needs building a support system around you, I invite you to reach out to me by scheduling a 1:1 consulting session.
You may think breaking an unhealthy habit is difficult but it is actually simple. The key is awareness of the habit and the discernment that it’s something that is actually sabotaging your radiant health and well-being. Once you’ve acknowledged it, make the choice to replace it. Replace this with a self-honoring choice and repeat this over and over with each ritual habit you want to break. The repetition will keep you on the right track.
It takes the awareness of the benefits of wanting to do the chosen thing and the conscious repetition until it becomes a healthy habit that nurtures you. Remember this example of how to replace a habit with a choice that supports a healthier way:
Carla worked in an office and wanted to add more movement into her day but her desk job kept her sitting much of the day unless she was running errands to other departments on other floors in the high-rise. Carla decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator. She found adding steps something that was good for her whole body and was easy to fit in her schedule. Carla acknowledged a ritual habit she could change and made the choice to replace it with something better for her.
Here’s to finding new balance in your day-to-day activities and knowing the good choices you’re making will serve you – mind, body, and soul.