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Monday, September 17, 2007

"Habits -- How They Affect My life and How They had to Change to Heal My Chronic Pain" -- my entry into the Jenny and Erin contest as I continue my Quest for Understanding !

Thank you Jenny and Erin for having this contest. It allowed me to focus on habits and how they have and still do affect me. So here it is -- my answers to the wonderful questions you asked in your contest: How big of a role do habits play in your daily life? Do your habits typically form intentionally or unconsciously? What approaches have you found successful in shaping them?

I have come a long way in changing my habits but oh I have such a long way to go! I healed myself of several illnesses and chronic pain predominately by changing my habits. I knew I hadn’t intentionally caused my illnesses but also knew in my quest for understanding that I would find out what my subconscious habits were and how I could modify them. I had:

- Habits of telling myself how sick I was and concentrating on my pain.

- Habits of lying in bed KNOWING I wouldn’t get stuff on my list done because of pain.

- Habits of frequent doctor visits so they could assure me of how sick I was and more tests to prove the fact.

- Habits of talking to other “sick people” to feel like I wasn’t the only one.

- Habits of taking on all my friend’s problems before my own

I didn’t start out this way. I didn’t mean to end up in pain and suffering on a daily basis. But my negative self-talk and habits were keeping me in a place that no one would want to be.

I luckily broke myself of these habits and it was a little bit at a time. I decided to tackle one at a time, starting with :

- Cutting out the forums that were making me concentrate on my illness – in analyzing them they were bringing me down more than helping me

- Limiting the endless doctors –I already knew my diagnoses and they told me I would get worse and all I could do was “manage my pain”. Why was I constantly going to be reminded of just how sick their diagnosis “made me” – I was letting them and the illnesses define me

- Lying in bed and CONSCIOUSLY changing my self-talk. Concentrating on the parts that didn’t hurt instead of the parts that did hurt and telling myself, "I am healthy" instead of “I am so sick”.

- Limiting the time spent with friends who wanted me to cure all for them – it was time for me to put myself first so I would be able to help anybody at all.
- I used visualizing seeing myself as healthy and doing all the things I would love to be doing.

These give examples of how the bad habits formed subconsciously and how I consciously formed new habits. Now my first thoughts upon waking up are: -- “Wow what a beautiful day – I am SO GRATEFUL I have my health to fully enjoy the day”. Habits can be changed but you first have to be consciously aware of them and want them to change. Breaking the change into mini-steps is helpful as well – become aware of all the mini-habits included in the biggie you want to change. (ie. My health)

I feel I have conquered my health this way but still have some mommying and other habits I would love to change and am working on. Why is it when I hear my kids chasing each other in the living room my pressure goes right up and I am already seeing them hurting themselves? They might, but they might not. Making myself aware enough to stop and see what is going on rather than yelling automatically still needs some work! I have even been known to use a rubber band to snap myself into consciousness when I am first identifying the habit that I feel needs to go. That’ll bring you to the moment!

I am also quite the perfectionist so there are some habits I am happy I have (though my husband and kids may disagree). Before bed the dishes must be clean, the kid’s breakfast bowls should be out, the knapsacks ready for me to check in the morning, etc. These are habits I set out to make stick so that my life is that much easier in the morning and habits that while I might be given a hard time about I am happy I have. These formed consciously and I make a conscious effort to maintain them. Although if it is a late night and there is no agenda for the next day I am able to “let these habits go” much to the glee of my family! Rare – but it does happen!

There are all kinds of habits and all kinds of ways to deal with them and appreciate them or to deal with them and change them. They can start out consciously or subconsciously and you can change them if you so desire badly enough. Thank you Jenny and Erin for helping me realize how far I have come with taming some of my habits. I’ve still got a ways to go but just writing about them enabled me to focus on what’s GREAT and what still needs a bit of fine-tuning. Life is a work in progress and if you aren’t working on yourself somehow – you are not taking the time to listen and to be consciously aware of all your habits and how they affect you and others!

As mentioned I used the power of the mind to cure myself of several chronic illnesses and chronic pain. If you want to visit me and learn more you can visit my blog or site on me or my site on healing naturally.


Jenny said...

Wow! I'm very impressed with all you've accomplished through becoming aware of and slowly changing your habits. I think remembering to express gratitude for what you do have is essential also.

Thank you so much for entering Erin and my contest.

Jenny Mannion said...

Absolutely right Jenny! When I was ill I felt no gratitude --just sadness. When I was healing part of me changing my self-talk when I woke up was saying all I was grateful for; my beautiful healthy kids, my loving husband, my beautiful home, my great parents, looking out my window and seeing mountains... I do this every morning now while in the shower and it sets a VERY different tune to my day! Thanks so much for your comment! Jenny : )

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jenny! I too work on gradually replacing unproductive habits with better ones. I'm grateful to be conscious of them! I used to run on auto-pilot and have no IDEA how my habits were affecting outcomes in my life. Awareness is the big step 1on the path to wellness! Thanks! Deb

Jason said...

That can pretty much be summed up as:

Focus on what you have, not what you lack, whether material things, health, or something else.

Focusing on what you lack brings all sorts of negative things into your life, and makes your quality of life deteriorate, as you notice more and more things that you don't have. You will make choices seeing all options through a negative lens, which can (and often does) lead to less than optimal choices.

Focusing on what you DO have, on the other hand, leads you to look at things through a positive light, seeing what your options can do for you instead of what you want to avoid, which can make for much better analysis of your options, and therefore the quality of your choices.

Holy cow that was one long sentence.

Anyway, good use of a personal story to illustrate an important point. :)

Pippa said...


Wow, you win Jenny and Erin's contest in my mind! Your post and unique view on the importance of habits so much speak to where I am right now in my life, and the things I am learning about gratitude and focus especially.

Thanks for sharing. You go, girl!


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