Stuck with bad habit?
Does your body seem to just take over? Repeating the same bad habits? Do you often regret the things you do or say?
You often don’t do what you wish to do but rather what your habits compel you to do.
Habits can be in the form of physical, verbal, or mental thought patterns. You are the sole creator of both your good and bad habits. Only you have the ability to change a habit you don’t like. Your ability to change a habit is directly proportional to the strength of your will power. Meditation cultivates willpower. It strengthens the part of the brain associated with executive decision making. The part of the brain that controls your habits, impulses, fears and desires. By strengthening this region of the brain, right behind the forehead, called the prefrontal cortex, you increase your ability to control habits and your power to choose a different action or way of thinking. Not surprisingly, this is same part of the brain that shrinks with depression and post traumatic stress, conditions where our fears and impulses take over.
You cannot change what you cannot see.
Meditation clears the mind of all the incessant chatter. A clear mind is a revealing mind. A clear mind has the ability to see your unconscious thoughts and tendencies. When you can see the tendencies and belief patterns that cause you stress, you then have the option to change them.
Meditation cultivates will power
Scientific research in the past decade has changed what we know about the brain. Until recent years it was thought that we could not change our brains. New technological advances have enabled deeper understanding of the brain and suggests that this is not true. The concept is called neuroplasticity and it says that we can change the connectivity of the neural networks in the brain simply by our actions (thinking is an action). .
This means if you don’t like the way your opinion or judgement about circumstances in your life are making you feel, you have the power to choose a more positive way of viewing the situation. You can do this at any moment. Every time that old thought or belief system appears, once you notice it, you shut it down and choose the opposite thought. By choosing the opposite thought, or a more positive way of thinking, you create new neural pathways in the brain. Soon the grass will grow over the old path and it won’t be an option any longer. In practice, taking the opposite thought or stopping yourself from reaching for that can of soda is hard to do unless you have a formal meditation practice that strengthens your will power muscle.
Lifestyle habits for cultivating will power
If cultivated, the following habits will calm the mind and strengthen your will power.
- A habit of deep meditation – to strengthen your will and relieve the physical body of stress
- A habit of doing good to others
- A habit of being moderate in all things
- A habit of having good character (patience, forgiveness, kindness, generosity)
- Eating properly, exercising, breathing deeply
- Making practical creative efforts to produce necessary prosperity
- Avoid an inferiority complex, it means you underestimate your powers
- Avoid a superiority complex, it means you over estimate your powers.
- Value peace instead of being right, or being judgmental, or confrontational at all times.
- Give love if you want love (give what you want)
I write about these subjects because our minds are not separate from our bodies. There is a very real and measurable effect that our thoughts and behaviors have on our physical body. Our minds have the ability to compromise our immune response, our digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and other biological systems important to our health. If the mind is stressed the biological systems in the body that reduce the body’s ability to heal and regenerate are also stressed. This reduces the body’s resources to help when a real stress does occurs, like an infection or a death in the family, divorce, etc…Some people find it challenging to make the changes they must make in order to return their body to a state of health. Meditation practice is a tool that I often use to help build their will power so my clients can make the necessary lifestyle changes and at the same time, the practice itself puts the body into a physical state of relaxation allowing them to heal any damage and increase the effectiveness of the protocols that we use in our programs.