Hear, Taste, Smell, See, Feel.
Last week you read about how to take a regular habit and turn it into an opportunity. Hopefully you had an opportunity to read on how important it is to reduce stress in your life and how you can use your breathe as a way to bring in the Rest and Digest mode. Then we brought it all together to changing a habit you already have so you can use it as a way to find moments of calm in your day.
Finding Pockets of Joy
Finding pockets of joy in your day can be difficult sometimes especially when your life is busy and you are overwhelmed with stress. It’s annoying to have to think through how you would change something you already do in a way that would make life more enjoyable for you. It seems like the old way was working. Brushing your teeth was simply just to get your teeth clean and not a time to have to remember to do something else.
You have to be all in for it to work
None of this will work if you aren’t able to see the benefit of taking time to stop being in fight or flight mode and bring yourself into rest and digest. You have no control over fight or flight. Rest and digest won’t happen instinctually. For you to to have the balance between stress and calm you have to engage rest and digest to counteract your stress load. It’s the only way. You have to take ownership of your ability rest in order to undo the physical reactions to stress.
Hopefully by now you have identified a habit you’d like to change but now you have a question on how to actually change it.
Use Your Senses to Guide You Through This Process.
Think of your habit and then ask yourself:
Can I focus on what I hear?
Is there water running that you can focus on?
Are there birds singing?
Can you focus on the sound of your breath?
What can you hear? Can you focus on that or at least notice it for a while?
Can I focus on taste?
If I am eating or drinking something can I focus on the taste?
Can I notice how my mouth, body and mind react to tasting this or even before I taste it?
What memories are tied to that taste?
As I taste it can I slow down and breathe so I can enjoy it more?
Can I focus on what I smell?
Focus on the smell of the hot cup of coffee you are drinking before taking a sip.
Linger with the cup by your nose and really smell what is in the cup.
Smell the flower, candle, cream you use while performing that habit.
Smell what you are eating so you can taste it even more.
Breathe in deeply so you can fully smell the item that is there.
Can I notice what I See?
What can you see?
What is the texture of the mug that holds your coffee?
What can you notice about the color of the wall in front of you?
Can you really see yourself in the mirror when you brush your teeth?
Can I identify what I can Feel?
What can you physically feel?
Is there a texture to your toothbrush?
Can you feel your clothing against your skin or the weight of your blanket in the morning?
How does the pencil feel against the paper when I doodle?
By just checking in with each one of the senses you can establish what would work while re-making your habit. Focusing on one or multiple senses while doing something and also focusing on deep breathing that you learned. You are well on your way to find pockets of joy throughout your day.
Just remember this is an exercise in slowing down.
Please don’t try to see how many habits you can change at a time! Identify and change one habit and then once it happens automatically move on to creating the next one.