Bad habits can be difficult to break and may seem nearly impossible to overcome. Perhaps you grab candy or chips every time you walk by the kitchen. Maybe you swear every time a person cuts you off in your daily commute. Whatever the habit may be, bad habits can be overcome through mindfulness practice.
The following steps can be practiced daily to overcome bad habits that are impeding you from living your best life.
- Create time for meditation daily
- Live in the present moment
- Find a better way to deal with stress
- Find motivation
- Pause before reacting
- Have better willpower
Before learning the intricacies of meditation, it can be helpful to learn how to meditate. It does not require a fancy robe, becoming a mute, or removing to a remote village in India. Just follow the steps below.
- Get comfortable: Before engaging in meditation, sit in a comfortable chair or find a comfortable spot on the floor.
- Cross your legs: If you are sitting on the floor, cross your legs into a natural position much like the way you did when you were a child. On the other hand, if seated in a chair, place the feet flat on the ground.
- Practice proper posture: Sit with your back completely straight but in a comfortable position. Some level of comfort should exist during meditation, or else you may be too distracted to focus.
- Control your arms: Your arms should be in sync with your upper body, and the palms of your hands should be placed gently on top of your thighs.
- Drop the chin: Tilt the head down slightly, so that is in a comfortable yet engaging position.
Once seated in the proper physical state, you can turn your attention towards achieving the proper mental state of being.
Create Time for Meditation Daily
Meditation should not necessarily be reserved for times of extreme duress or pressure-filled situations. Being consistent with meditation daily will allow you to be mentally tough and able to tackle bad habits at their core. Set aside time daily in the morning upon waking or before falling asleep to meditate.
Being consistent with positive habits will be a better way to avoid the bad habits when they arise.
Live in the Present Moment
Focus on the current situation that is presently in front of you. If you find yourself with sweet cravings, look right at the piece of chocolate cake or cookies that are directly in front of you. Instead of avoiding them entirely, close your eyes and repeat to yourself “I do not need this _____ to satisfy me.”
Use positive reinforcement and continually tell yourself that the piece of food in front of you will not make you happy. The moment of happiness it provides is fleeting and is incomparable to the true happiness state that exists within you.
If you are a smoker that is attempting to quit, do not give into the physical urges that persist. Instead be mentally stronger than the physical body. Over time the physical body will no longer have persistent urges once the mind shuts off these defenses.
Find Better Ways to Deal with Stress
One of the reasons people turn to unhealthy foods, cigarettes, alcohol, or even drugs is due to excessive stressors in one’s life. If we can simply find a way to mentally eliminate the triggers that persist, it will go a long ways towards our desires to indulge in these cravings.
To break bad habits with mindfulness meditation, you need a better way to deal with stress. Replace a bad habit with a positive one. Next time you find yourself craving a candy bar, instead get up and do something active. Walk the dog, go for a jog or head to the gym. Over time the cravings will subside and instead you will be better focused on a new healthier habit.
Motivation can be difficult to come by for a lot of people. To make changes to negative habits, some people have to find themselves with their backs against the wall. Start with positive changes now instead of waiting for a detrimental occurrence to force your hand.
If you are struggling to eat healthy, tell yourself that changes need to be made now. Don’t wait for a health scare to be the deciding factor to initiate change. Too many people are reactive instead of proactive when it comes to their health.
If motivation cannot be found internally, tell yourself you will do it for some outside factor. You want to live healthier for your significant other, your kids, or your friends. When viewed from that perspective it will be easier to look for motivation beyond yourself.
Pause Before Reacting
Next time you find yourself in a situation in which a bad habit is about to occur, have a seat and use mindfulness practice. Instead of reaching for that cigarette or piece of candy, find your happy place. Sit on the ground, close your eyes, and concentrate on every single breathe.
Being impulsive causes us to act in a manner, not in our best interests. Before making that decision that will have negative consequences, practice meditation and look within. People that are mentally strong are less likely to engage in bad behavior.
Have Better Willpower
Sometimes the best solution is to simply have more willpower. Removal can be the best decision for negative lifestyle choices. Pour out the beers in the fridge and empty out the candy dish if it is really difficult to stay away from bad habits.
Practice strong willpower and tell yourself that you will not give no matter what the circumstances may be. Mindfulness practice creates a stronger mental state and thereby greater willpower as a side effect.
It is possible to change bad habits and live a better life. By implementing some basic fundamental elements of meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine, you will be better mentally equipped to handle struggles that come your way. There is no full proof method, all it takes is a stronger mental capacity and a positive state of mind. The moment you decide to change is the moment bad habits will be forever broken.