Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Some things that we enjoy are unhealthy and carry with them negative side-effects. It is obvious why those habits should be avoided. Some habits may be neither healthy nor unhealthy. We may even receive benefits from temporarily abstaining from those habits. Proactively changing your habits builds confidence. It gives one a sense of power and control. It also builds skills that can be used to change unhealthy habits. If nothing else it teaches us to be mindful.
Many of us become attached to the joy that we receive when we indulge in some behavior. It may be the pleasure of our favorite chocolate bar. It may be the relief we receive from smoking. It may be the attention we get when we dress a certain way. Each of these examples-in fact any example you could come up with-carries with it some psychologically gratifying experience. Once we recognize the experience that we're seeking, then the act of sacrifice becomes much simpler. The trick of Lent becomes one of substitution rather than abstinence.
It is much easier for the brain to engage in a new behavior than it is to simply avoid an unwanted behavior. If we look at the benefits we receive from the unwanted behavior, we can seek out new behaviors that will also deliver that same benefit. By engaging in the new behavior we can circumvent our need to engage in the unwanted behavior. This is a technique that is becoming increasingly utilized by psychologist and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioners. It is also the reason why Mindful Measures programs focus on developing new healthy habits for its clients. So, this year for Lent, choose a difficult habit to avoid, and substitute it with a healthy alternative. I would love to hear about your success.
Monday, February 8, 2010
According to the Forest Institute of professional psychology, the divorce rate for first marriages is 50%. The divorce rate is even higher for second in third marriages; being 67% and 74% respectively. There are several possible conclusions we can draw from this. The first of which is that only half of marriages are bound by a firm commitment. Or perhaps the successful partnerships were clearer on what they needed from a spouse prior to getting married (see my previous blog, "First Find Love Within Yourself”). I prefer to believe however, that most unsuccessful marriages fail due to a lack of relational skills - the divorce rates for second and third marriages bear this out. So then, what skills are necessary to nourish a healthy relationship?