We hear so much in the media about being more mindful and tuning into the body’s signals. We can use some simple techniques anywhere to bring us back to the moment. There are many reasons to increase mindfulness. Last week in our Atomic Habits zoom chat we talked about some bad habits people have such as simultaneously walking and scrolling through a cell phone- please Mind the Gap! Or multitasking while leaving your house and forgetting something important to bring along. Mentally scanning our bodies and the environment helps us to be more present to show up fully.
In Atomic Habits there is a method called Point-and-Call which helps a train conductor do everything needed in his routine on the job. We can apply this at home by verbalizing what we need to remember. This technique allows us to say and hear what we are doing and keeps us aware of our actions. For instance, saying out loud, “I am putting my phone on the kitchen counter with my keys and the doggy poop bags so I can put the dog's leash on” before going out the door. This helps me remember these things.
We can also use a grounding technique to keep us in the moment. This helps us focus more deeply on the habits for which we are trying to build systems. This method is also used to help reduce anxiety.
What is the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique?
1. Look for 5 things you can see
2. Acknowledge 4 things you can touch
3. Pay attention to 3 things you can hear
4. Find 2 things you can smell
5. Shift your awareness to 1 thing you can taste
Chapter 8 in Atomic Habits discusses how our western culture is driven by DOPAMINE so we can feel good living on the border of reality. Being simply irresistible is not just a favorite song by Robert Palmer, but how supernormal stimuli, a heightened version of reality, can drive our reward systems into hyperdrive. Food addiction is real, and we have a culture immersed in consuming processed-foods. Processed foods are purposely manufactured to increase palatability and of course sales with little to no regard for health.
We do have a fighting chance but need to put on our armor and be prepared to do battle. The first rule is not to engage. Clean your environment of anything that challenges your goals. My family and I rarely watch TV but when we do, it is only cable shows planned in advance - oh, and the screen is in the basement - so we have to make the effort to leave the main part of the house. Watching a screen isn’t bad in itself but can be an addictive time suck. Somebody in our group mentioned that if they want to watch TV they have their exercise equipment set up so they can move and watch. This way, “more probable behaviors (exercise) will reinforce less probable behaviors (TV viewing).” page 110.
I have tremendous gratitude that each one of you are in the 6D Living group, show up to
programs, support our Facebook page, and maybe even belong to a book club. We are
constantly in the process of imitating those around us and one of the most effective things we can do collectively is join a culture where we have something in common. This is our tribe, a safe place we can feel heard while we work to get and stay healthy. It is work, hard work, and my hope for you is to cherish the reward and the journey along the way.
"What starts as an excuse can easily become a habit.
Don’t let a bad day become a lifestyle.” -James Clear
About the author James Clear
James Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field. He writes about habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement at jamesclear.com. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Time, and on CBS This Morning. He is a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies and his work is used by teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.
Robin Saul is a registered dietitian who earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and human nutrition from the University of Florida. Although not discovering the benefits of a plant-centric, no processed foods diet until 2016, she raised her four kids with an abundance of plant foods and home cooking. Robin has specialized nutrition knowledge in the areas of gastroenterology, food intolerances and allergies, gerontology and recipe development.