“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle.
We are made up of habits, hundreds of them; most of them going completely unnoticed by us. There are two parts to our mind; our conscious mind and our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is where our habits belong. This is because habits are things that we repeatedly do without even thinking about doing them. We have conscious habits as well. Our conscious habits are those “habits” that are not quite habits yet. Maybe you are trying to drink a glass of water each morning but some days you slip up. This is not a habit yet because you have to think about doing it, that is what makes this “habit” a conscious one. You may notice that you have a few conscious habits in the making, but what about your subconscious habits? Take a look at your daily routine and make a list of the detailed things that you do. Maybe you sit down on the couch after dinner, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook for several hours. Or maybe you can’t cook dinner without having the TV playing. Or maybe you even have a habit to check your phone at red lights. Whatever your habits may be, some of them may not be the best for your health. Most habits have to do with multitasking and that within itself can be very unhealthy. When you get into the habit of doing two or more things at once, you are training your mind to be constantly running. Why do we feel the need to watch TV while we cook dinner? Why can’t we enjoy the process of preparing a meal on its own. When we come to the realization that mindfulness is our greatest gift, we will begin to appreciate all the little things that we tend to overlook.
Building healthy beneficial habits is so important because as Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do.” The habits that we perform daily help shape who we are as people. Below is a list of a few habits that you can incorporate into your life:
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the process of remaining aware of the present moment. You can practice mindfulness by meditating or by making simple changes like not multitasking. Take the cooking example we used before, many people like to fill the empty noise with TV, music, or other activities; when instead try just cooking dinner alone and enjoy the process. From now on limit your distractions, as you cook make yourself aware of the smells, the sights, and the natural sounds. Mindfulness is all about heightening all of your senses by becoming aware of them. Not to mention, remaining mindful is a huge benefit to one’s mental health. Instead of filling your empty time with social media, try sitting outside and enjoying the beauty in front of you. We live in a society that never takes “down time.” We fill every empty moment with music, social media, and television; we need to learn to take a second for ourselves and really remain present. The best way to practice mindfulness is to take time to focus on your breath. Next time you have a free moment, focus on your breath and the things around you. Try making mindfulness a habit and see how it alters your days.
- Exercise: Exercise should be a habit that everyone builds. Daily exercise has a number of benefits even if it just a daily 30 minute walk. Getting your body moving will wake up your muscles and get your heart pumping. Make it your mission to move your body everyday for at least 30 minutes. Exercise can help clear your mind, boost your mood, increase your energy, manage your blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart diseases and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning: While we sleep our body is in a state of fasting and repair. When we wake up we are dehydrated and drinking a glass of water in the morning helps reverse those effects. Tonight before you go to bed set out a glass of water on your night stand so you can rehydrate when you wake up. By doing this simple act you are going to not only rehydrate but increase your mood and energy. Chronic dehydration can cause fatigue, drowsiness, lack of overall energy, and more. Fix and prevent these symptoms by trying out this habit for yourself.
We need to have habits within our lives because they help us build structure and consistency to our days. The more healthy habits we have, the more healthy we are as individuals. Since the first of the year, we have been asking patients to build healthy habits for life. Every Tuesday, we post a healthy habit that we are asking everyone to try out for 7 days. After those 7 days, if you find yourself enjoying the benefits of the habit, we ask you to begin incorporating it into your daily life. If you follow us throughout the whole year, by the end of 2021 you can have up to 52 new habits!
Take the next for weeks for yourself and start incorporating these habits into your daily routine. For more habits follow us on Instagram @awscchiro; we post a new habit every Tuesday afternoon.