When our course attendees find value in our course and make positive changes to their lives, it reaffirms why we are doing what we do. Reading about Sophia learning so much through the habits and triggers session is really great. We know, like Sophia all the others on this current course are learning loads about themselves too.
It’s often so easy to think of a healthy life as a diet and exercise regime. In week 6 we discuss how it’s more than that and how focusing on your mental, emotional and spiritual life is just as important.
Sophia from Time for Tea blog writes about her experiences on week 6 and how she is making small changes to her life through our online course.
Getting Intentional: Week 6
“I think this week’s session was my favourite one yet: Healthy Habits and Triggers. It also marked moving on to the second half of the course, which focuses more on mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
As a group, we considered what habits were, and gave examples of some of our own habits (healthy and unhealthy!). We also looked at different types of internal and external triggers and dug into a bit of psychology around willpower and the trigger-action-reward model. It wasn’t just theoretical though; we were given time and space to think about our own triggers for certain habits, and provided with tools to identify them (which include examining what/where/who/why/when/how we experienced those triggers). I appreciated hearing about hacks to help manage triggers and cravings too!
As always, what I valued most about this session was working out how I can apply the information to my own life. For a few months now, I have recognised that whenever I feel bored, I tend to reach for my mobile phone. The rewards are fairly obvious: easy distraction; the thrill of finding a new message or email to read; the chemical reaction that goes on in your brain when you hear the ‘ping’ of a new alert or ‘like’ on social media. I had to do a bit more detective work to see when the triggers are the strongest, but I’ve realised I am more likely to get distracted by my phone in the evening, or when I’m bored when I’m out with someone and they leave for a short period (e.g. to use the bathroom!).
During the session, two ways were proposed to break habits. Firstly, distance yourself from the trigger. I’m not quite sure how to put distance between myself and this internal trigger (boredom); having gaps in your schedule and waiting for someone are inevitable parts of the day that you can’t really avoid (this said, I have implemented a no-phone-in-the-bathroom rule for myself and my husband, because I’m convinced you spend longer on the loo when you’re preoccupied with your phone, thus leaving the other person alone for longer!).
The second method is to replace the action (in this case, reaching for my phone), with a new action. So that’s the bit I’m working on! In the evenings I think that turning my phone onto airplane mode — or better still, leaving it in a different room — is a good idea, so I physically can’t just reach for it when I’m bored. But what could I replace that action with? At home, I could have a book to hand (reaching for a book feels more edifying than reaching for a phone!) but it’s not very practical to carry a book with you when you’re out and about! So perhaps I need to just learn to be happy sitting quietly, letting my mind be still. I’d certainly love to lose the desire to always be distracted! If I’m honest, I think I’ll struggle with it as it doesn’t come very naturally to me, but perhaps that’s the point! We need to be intentional when forming new habits, and as I practice quietening my mind more and more, new neural pathways should form in my brain, making it easier in time. So I’ll give it a shot! Watch this space…”