7 Days of Calm, Day 2: Break the Cycle


Our habitual behaviors are learned responses to recurring situations. Almost all habitual behavior is positive. If you’re about to cross a road, you’ve learned the habit of first checking it’s clear of traffic.

Some habits we adopt because they were, at one point, of benefit to us. However, if they are no longer beneficial and we continue them they can become detrimental.

Eating food high in sugars and carbohydrate can be a common response when faced with a stressful situation. It has clear short term benefits, your body ensuring you’re fueled for the challenge ahead. However, if we repeatedly respond to stressful situations in this way it can become damaging to both our physical and mental health.

Think of a habitual behavior you engage in that you’d like to correct. Do you stress eat or starve? Impulse shop? Pick at you hair or your fingernails?

What emotion do you feel when you engage in that behavior? What is the emotion that triggers it? Can you think of its opposite emotion?

This opposite emotion is the one you’re going to move toward each time you find yourself engaging in this habit.

Imagine yourself exhibiting this behavior, then picture yourself curling up into a ball. Head tucked in. Arms at your side. Try tensing your muscles as you visualize this. Let that triggering emotion wash over you.

Now imagine you’re moving away from that emotion and toward its opposite. Picture yourself standing slowly, feel each of the vertebrae in your back, from the base of your spine working up, extend. Spread your arms and look up to the sky, feeling sunlight on your face.

Finally, imagine a pair of wings unfolding from your back as you fully embrace your desired emotion. Really picture those wings. Are they feathered? Dragon wings? Are they made of metal?

Each time you find yourself engaging in this negative behavior, you can picture yourself unfurling, your wings spreading before they carry you away from the triggering emotion to become absorbed in the emotion you prefer to experience.

Day 3: Get Back in the Game


Published by Stuart Fitzwilliam

Runner. Writer. Instinctive fear of inclement weather, hence living in Southern California.

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