We’ve all heard it takes 30 days to create a habit. How we relate to those first 30 days may make all the difference. Today I have the privilege of bringing you Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier.
Ariane is also CEO and founder of first30days.com, an organization developed to help people transition through any change, whether it’s career, health, lifestyle, relocation, or personal relationship changes. She has been named MSN’s Life Change Expert and her advice is sought by thousands around the country.
Today Ariane is going to talk to us about why it’s so hard for people to make sustained changes in life, and what we can do about it.
Recently, a new report came out in the Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine that stated that engaging in bad habits such as excessive drinking (more than 3 drinks/day), smoking, not exercising (2 hours/week) or eating our veggies and fruit can age us by 12 years. Well, it’s not really news that being unkind to our bodies over time can lead to an unhealthy state. However, here is a little anecdote that is interesting and might explain how it we can seem aged by 12 years.
Read over the following progression from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook a couple of times and take a moment to reflect on it:
1. Intention shapes our thoughts and words.
Welcome to Monday’s Mindful Quote at the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. In an earlier blog I quoted Rumi’s Guesthouse poem in order to convey a radical aspiration of approaching instead of avoiding our difficult emotions. He says:
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
However, it’s not always the difficult emotions we’re trying to avoid. Sometimes there’s a subtle, or not too subtle, aversion to the “positive” feelings like “love” or “joy” that come for life or success. Why might this be?
Sometimes in order to really experience and embrace life, it’s important to acknowledge and embrace death. Our culture is riddled with a denial of and aversion to death. Actor and Filmmaker Woody Allen once said “I don’t mind dying as long as I don’t have to be there.”
What is this aversion and denial all about and how does it keep us entangled in our own neuroses?
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Mark Twain:
“I am a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
Stress and misfortunes are an unavoidable fact of life, it’s the human condition. As we say in A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook:
Today I bring to you David Daniels, M.D., author of Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide — Revised & Updated, clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School and leading developer of the Enneagram system of personality types. The original release of the Essential Enneagram sold over 100,000 copies and has been translated into over 10 languages. The new updated and revised Essential Enneagram has much new material and practices for what to do after you discover your type.
Today Dr. Daniels talks to us about what the Enneagram is and how it might serve as a guide to greater well-being.
Once in a while a student of one of my Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) groups for preventing depressive relapse writes me, and I felt that this particular letter could be a benefit to many and wanted to share it with you. I have also bolded some things that I felt stood out. Of course I have taken out names and identifying information to respect anonymity.
“Depression struck me at 13, then 16, and has ruined the quality of my life on and off for forty years. It’s been a murky maze of underground thoughts and feelings that attacked me internally like viruses.
Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. Plato once said:
The beginning is the most important part of the work.
That’s similar to Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu’s saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” When we want to make a change in our lives or there is a big project in front of us, getting past that initial threshold is one of the most the most difficult tasks. All of a sudden cleaning or getting that extra cup of coffee seems really important to do; anything really to put off getting started. This happens at home and work all the time, and we often call it procrastination.
I often say that there are two things that are unavoidable in life besides death and taxes and those are stress and pain. Pain is prevalent, be it physical pain and/or emotional pain. So we can all relate. But what if we could use our minds to change our brains and actually relieve our perception of pain this way.
Jeffrey Schwartz is a psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and has written on Mindfulness and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In a 2006 article titled “Plasticity in Brain Processing and Modulation in Pain” with Donald Price and Nicholas Verne, they said:
Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. Last week I wrote the post 5 Quotes that Can Change Your Life, and here’s one of them by Albert Einstein. Go ahead and read it a few times before moving on:
You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
Okay, so we’ve all been told that Albert Einstein was a genius, so it couldn’t hurt us to explore his wisdom.
It is all-too-natural and all-too-common for us to try and solve a problem with the same mind that created it. For example, when we begin sliding into depression, the automatic negative thoughts seep out, “what’s the point, who cares, nothing ever going to change, etc., etc. …” and this helps lead us into depression. When we’re feeling depressed, all the mind wants to do is find the solution to the “problem” of depression and so it twirls round and round in its depressed state trying to find the explanation for “what’s wrong with me.”