Let’s face it. We are creatures of habit. We find comfort and safety in our routines. We may eat the same thing for breakfast every day (guilty), walk the same way to work (also guilty) or or or….. There’s nothing wrong with that. My morning ritual is one of my most favourite parts of the day. When our way of life becomes habitual, sometimes we can fail to ask ourselves if something we are doing is really working for us. As a taken-for-granted something we do every day, we may not think to call into question the effect that something is having on our lives. In fact, something we do every day may even be making us sick or uncomfortable, but because of the safety/comfort is represents, we are unwilling to acknowledge this or give it up. We attach to that behaviour as something that anchors or grounds us, forgetting that nothing outside of us can do that; that is an inside job!
Take for example, me. For the longest time I’ve noticed that my belly has always been a little on the bloated side. Aside from the obvious foods that I know exasperate this, I couldn’t figure out why even when I avoided these foods, my stomach would still swell up like I was about to birth my first child! Only recently did it click for me: it was the GUM I was chewing! The gum I was chewing (rather often I must admit) contained sorbitol, a known stomach irritant (but previously unknown to me of course). But it was such a part of my routine: Finish a meal, chew gum; After my cup of coffee, chew gum; Walking the dog in the morning, chew gum. Yeah, that’s a lot of gum – no wonder my poor tummy rebelled! The gum was the security; it signified the end of the meal and stood as an assurance that I wouldn’t overeat. Alas, I realized that I must give up the gum and trust that my body’s wisdom is assurance enough.
A good question to ask yourself, or even to observe, is “how attached am I to x behaviour”? Is it truly serving me? What would happen if I gave it up or changed it in some way? Exploring our attachment to our habitual behaviours can be a useful exercise. Whenever there is compulsion or rigidity around something we are doing, wouldn’t you like to know what purpose it’s really serving you? Maybe the behaviour isn’t an unhealthy one. But our ability to constantly question things makes us more responsive to ourselves and places us in a better position to serve our own highest good.