“To modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it” — Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
I often talk about the importance of mindfulness: living in the now, savoring new experiences, pulling yourself out of autopilot in order to be present in the current moment. Some people go so far as to claim that practicing mindfulness is the best approach for a happier life. Yet, others claim what seems like the opposite: that autopilot can be our friend, and that habits can make our lives simpler and happier.
My philosophy is currently floating somewhere in the middle. I think both mindfulness and routines are necessary for the pursuit of happiness. We can use our mindfulness practice to become more aware of our personal habits, which can help us eliminate unnecessary decisions and leave us more energy for things that will make us happier.
New York Times investigative journalist Charles Duhigg agrees (although his point of view definitely focuses a bit more on the habits side of things). In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg unpacks how harnessing our habits can transform our lives, businesses, and communities for the better.
The transformation starts with understanding the mechanics of a habit. The “habit loop” structure is pretty simple: First, there is a cue, which triggers a routine, which is validated by a reward.Read More »
This week’s tip: Stop dwelling on the wind and the waves. Start focusing on your wings.
Life got a little turbulent for me over the past couple of days. I came down with a little bug that had me flat on my back for most of yesterday. I felt exhausted. All I wanted to do was work on some writing or do something fun with Eric, but all I could manage to do was sleep, nap, and lie there.
I had considered staying home from work today, but I had a few meetings in the morning, so I figured I’d go in for my meetings, grab my computer, and then work from home in the afternoon. This morning I felt a little bit better, so heading to work didn’t actually seem so bad.
“I am convinced that putting your house in order will help you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.”
— Marie Kondo, the life-changing magic of tidying up
Marie Kondo’s the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing is a fascinating book. If you ask around or research online, it has pretty mixed reviews — some people swear by it, while others say things like: “…the author is bat-shit crazy.”
Inspiring and endearing, albeit a little extreme, this book takes you step by step through how to declutter your life and make room for a little more joy. Read More »
Mental health can feel like a touchy subject sometimes. Many people don’t like to talk about it. Some people feel embarrassed admitting to others that they struggle with mental health issues. Heck, some people even have a hard time admitting it to themselves. For some reason, there is still an inexplicable stigma surrounding mental illness — this totally common human experience that one in every four people deals with at some point in his or her life.
1 in 4 people. That’s like us avoiding talking about asthma (oh wait, that’s 1 in 12 people.) Okay — it’s like us not feeling comfortable talking about arthritis (1 in 5 people). Seriously? Read More »
I am not an expert on health, or hardships, or happiness — I’m just a creative soul who is trying to figure out my reason to write and my story to tell.
Over the last few years, I have tried to learn how to be more mindful, and I’ve experienced a few bumps in the road along the way. But I continue to come back to this idea: how can you and I find (and create) more happiness in our lives? I definitely can’t say I have much authority on the topic, or even that my ideas are all that original… but there are a few things that I have learned that I think might be worth sharing with the world. And, how can I become an expert if I don’t commit to learning more?