How to break a bad habit

Transitions are tough. Everything in our physiology naturally goes into resistance when facing a transition. The brain loves to create patterns. With patterns (even, unfortunately), negative patterns, the brain is wired for comfort simply because the pattern is known to you.

Patterns govern our lives. For example, most parents feed their kids the same time each day. It helps kids feel stable, safe and grounded. But what about patterns that start out as healthy and after time become unhealthy habits. For example, a drink after dinner starts out as a way to relax, but slowly over time, you find yourself dependent on it for relaxation. Stopping at the gym every night on the way home from work started out as a good idea when your wife was in a bad mood but turned into a way to avoid staying in the ring to work through the difficult conversation.

If you grew up in a home where there was a lot of unpredictability you may find yourself challenged when going through big changes. Patterns of transition are imprinted in our cellular memory from early childhood. In a stress filled house-hold, children marry change with feelings of fear, then as adults we may find even positive transitions (moving to a new home, starting a new relationship or job) to be unusually troubling.

For example, as the oldest of four siblings, you might have learned to be wonderfully resilient in crisis. You became great at making big (adult) decisions quickly to take care of your younger siblings. However, as an adult, you feel burdened by your automatic tendency to take on more than your share of responsibility for others, then feel resentful. Your brilliant leadership in childhood helped you survive childhood, but now this tendency may (subconsciously) interfere with your adult relationships and health.

To grow we must change. When change occurs, early cellular wiring, rebels. Our cells have LOTS of needs when going through big changes. It can be super helpful to know how to have a conscious/subconscious dialogue with your cells. A healing dialogue between your cells and higher (subconscious) mind, might sound something like this…

Cells: What on earth do you think you’re doing!!!?

Higher Mind: You know we have to________________ . (Fill in the blank with YOUR transition, ie. “Stop eating sugar.” “Move.” “Break-up.” “Quit that job I can’t stand anymore.” “Go to that doctor’s appointment I’ve been avoiding.” “Purchase that house that’s more than I thought I could spend.”)

Cells: No, no, we have a routine, its status quo. We’re good. Don’t do it! You feed us junk food when we’re nervous and if you stop, I’ll have cravings. I’ve grown to LOVE my junk food and you know how irritable I get when you take it away!

Higher Mind: Yeah, but you’re not healthy! You’ve gained weight, you have energy drops throughout the day and you’re moody. Look, we’ll get a massage, go to the park, out to dinner. Just keep doing deep breathing and remember this is temporary.

Cells: Okay, Okay, but this is a stretch for me. It’s a leap of faith because my cells don’t know this one!

Higher Mind: I know, but this time we’re going to go through change differently.