You can either make your habits or your habits can make you. We all seem to know this and yet sometimes we feel as if we can't control our habits. There are things we seem to do regularly that we don't know how to stop.
When it comes to my weight loss clients, I often tell them if they want to know why they overeat-stop overeating. As soon as you stop doing the bad habit or taking the negative action, it will be very clear why you do it in the first place. The first thing you will notice is the feeling that comes up.
When my clients stop overeating they are typically bombarded with negative emotion. Their knee jerk reaction after years of practice, is to fight the emotion, escape the emotion, or bury the emotion. Picking up more food is a way to escape the emotion temporarily. BUT if we are willing-and many of us are- to RELAX INTO THE EMOTION and feel it deeply, we can watch it pass through us. Eventually, as we get better at experiencing the truth of our emotional state, we can find the thought causing the feeling and change it.
There is no negative emotion that can stand up to an embrace. Negative emotion is fed by the fight or the habit that compounds it. If I am feeling lonely and I overeat, I will feel more lonely when the eating is done. Most likely I will get an added dose of shame and frustration after the food coma passes.
No matter what the unwanted action is you have in your life, you can start to eliminate it by doing this process:
1. Stop taking the action.
2. Notice the desire to "fight" or use "willpower" against the emotion that arises (you will typically lose this battle)
3. Relax into the underlying emotion and breathe. Notice the emotion from the witness perspective.
4. Keep relaxing and keep breathing and notice the thoughts that come up
5. Write down the thought
6. Acknowledge that if you want to change the habit, you must change the thought
Permanent change is never made by fighting or intense will-power. Long term loving change is made when we relax and find the cause.