Comfort and Success in Daily Habits

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

Every morning without fail, I go about the same routine. I love to wake up slowly. It is just my thing. I stumble to the coffee maker half awake and grab that warm mixture I create every day. Then, without thinking, I get into bed, meditate, write, read, or be as I drink my coffee. This is my time to be me. It’s a habit I have created over a long period of time, and I don’t deviate from it much.

Most of the time, when we talk about habits, we think of bad ones. There are good ones too! In fact, I have found the good ones can become a great comfort. They are just like a security blanket because we know they will be accomplished in the same manner we always do. We can count on them, and we don’t have to think about them. Habits don’t need will power to accomplish them. They are automatic conditioned acts and responses we have created over time.

 We only become aware of them when something comes along to interrupt them. One morning I woke up, and the ice maker was spewing water all over the kitchen floor. The line had broken, and I grabbed towels right and left, attempting to ensure the water was contained until it could be attended to. The one thing I noticed more than anything was my morning coffee and meditative time was interrupted. Had nothing unusual happened, I would not have given it a second thought.

Usually, when we want to make changes, we think we need will power to do it. Maybe it’s a new diet or exercise program. Or, it might be a new direction we want our life to go. Will power is not what we need, though. Will power never works. Only habits work. Whatever we want to accomplish has to be made into a habit, or we don’t do it. It has to be so automatic that we don’t even notice we are doing it unless it is interrupted, just like my coffee time.

I have heard it takes 21 days for the brain to establish a new habit. It has to be done every single day the same way it was the day before. It might take less time or even more depending on differences in people. The conditioning is the same, though. Some might liken this to classical conditioning in the field of psychology, and that is pretty much what it is. It does not have to be complicated, though. Just choose a new habit to work on and commit to it daily. It will become a daily routine over time, and you will do it without even thinking about it.

So, forget the diet will power or whatever it is you think mind over matter will accomplish. Just do the same thing daily for a period of time until you see the result. It will come! If you brush your teeth daily, have coffee and meditate, enjoy some time out in the sun before your shower, without even thinking about it, you can find another thing to add, and your life will be happier for it!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

http://jeninemarie.com

Reference:

Rubin, Gretchen (2015). Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Crown Publishers New York. Print.

Creating Daily Rituals

photo of woman posing during golden hour
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A ritual is formally defined as a spiritual or religious rite that is practiced and done regularly.  We also can create habits or actions that we do consistently and regularly, as if they are religious- like. I suppose we can say “we do them religiously.” Much of the time we describe a ritual as an act or action we do daily. This can be anywhere from our skin care to our work out routine. It’s probably a good idea to squeeze some of the spiritual ritual into our daily routine as well. A well rounded life has them all; the everyday actions that are mostly habits and the more divinely inspired moments that are more deeply rooted in who we are and our existence.

Daily rituals are needed for humans. Without them we are floating daily like a boat just drifting out to sea with no real direction. Rituals help give us direction, especially the deep spiritual ones. One of mine every morning is to grab my cup of coffee or tea and then sit back on the corner of my bed and close my eyes as I sip on my cup. This is my quiet time when I still my thinking, pray, ask for guidance, and tap into the spiritual “me”. I have found that the cup of coffee or tea is important because it signals to me this is the moment I am going to spiritually sink into my breathing, balance myself, and state my case with God. Whatever the moment brings for me, that is what it is. In other words I allow my ritual to unfold with no prior design or agenda.

I’ve often thought, and said, how we begin our morning is how our day will unfold. I like mine to begin with good thoughts, or dumping out difficult feelings,and replacing them with better more powerful ones. This morning ritual for me is my inspiration time. Often I will write my blog right after my morning moments. This did not happen automatically, I had to create it. I had already established my morning quiet moments with my coffee just to wake up and get ready for the day. It seemed simple to just add my spiritual moment with it. That way I know I will alway stick to it until it becomes a habit, and it has!

If you want to create sacred moments or just bring in some good habits for your life; think of things you already do and see what you can add to them. If you cook every day at 5pm, then consider adding some music and dancing while cooking. That brings in some exercise and some good mood enhancement. If you shop regularly, park way out in the back of the parking lot so you have to walk all the way to the front door and back. It might not seem like much but add a briskness to it and you have at least a couple minutes of even more exercise.

Or, if you procrastinate writing your book, think of when you are on your computer just checking social media. Cut some of that time and move over to your book and just write a few sentences or do some editing. It has been said it takes at least 21 days to establish a new habit. Keep on doing it and you will find your book will be written more often than social media time.

I need to read in order to write wisely on topics. I also love my reading time. I am so curious and love to read on certain topics that really interest me. It’s so easy to plop down into bed and just go to sleep or meditate myself to sleep. I have found if I go to bed earlier and pick up the book while I am still mostly awake then I establish a way to finish that book instead of allowing it to just sit on the nightstand.

I’m sure if you consider your day you can find things you regularly do that can be added to in order to enhance your life and establish a new habit. Whatever you do, consider when you can add your quiet inspired time when you can be spiritually silent and just allow thoughts to enter into your mind. Let this time be sacred; moments when you and God meet with body, mind and spirit to enhance your life.

There are enough moments in a day to get everything done that you need to do. Take out the things that no longer serve you and replace them with your needs, wants, and desires. If you need to drink more water, put a water bottle next to your bedside or place of spiritual inspiration. After your spiritual time drink water.

I think you get my point. Start by creating a list of all of the things you want to add to your daily life and habits. Then narrow that list down to just 3-5 and add one of them at a time. Group it with something you already do. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have a good strategy to get it all created!

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry