Changing the world requires that we change our lives. To change our lives, we need to change our days, and within our days lie our habits. Thus, change begins within this moment, and this moment, and this moment again. In every moment, we discover our power.
We possess the power of our internal worlds. That cannot be taken from us, no matter what we’re told. Our power lies within.
Change starts small, with our thoughts, actions, interactions, and beliefs about the world and who we are in it — our identity.
In turn, changing daily habits begins with an identity shift.
Envision Your New, Preferred, Identity
WRITE IT // SPEAK IT. FEEL IT. VISUALIZE.
👉🏼 Who are you without the chronic stress of fear, anger, or grief?
👉🏼 Who are you without the patterns that have developed because of that stress?
👉🏼 Who are you free from these patterns that stem from systems that aren’t serving you?
👉🏼 What does this version of you do? How do you spend your time? Whom do you spend it with? What do you eat and drink? What do you read, watch, listen to, and talk about? How do you feel, meaning, how do you want to feel? How do you want others to treat you?
👉🏼 Who are you, really, in the true expression of yourself, free from the stress that has been emplaced upon you by your circumstances?
When you shift the responses to oppressive systems within yourself, you change your experience of the world — you take back your power — and in doing so, you change the world around you.
What are your stress triggers?
Give awareness to what triggers stress in you and the sensations, thoughts, and reaction(s) that accompany your stress:
WRITE IT // SPEAK IT.
👉🏼 Stressful thoughts: Do your thoughts stress you out, say with anger, fear, grief, or worry? What are the tendencies in your thoughts when you’re stressed?
👉🏼 Stressful emotions: Do you frequent emotions that create a stress response in you, particularly anger, fear, grief, or excitement? Are there certain environments or relationships that provoke these emotions, and in turn, stress you out?
Behavioral and physical tools are provided in more detail according to their emotional counterpart (such as anger, grief, and fear) that are, in part, the culprits in our experience with chronic stress.
👉🏼 Stressful consumption: Are there certain things that you do or consume that you turn to when you’re stressed? Remember that consumption is not only food, drinks, smoking, or drugs, but also social media, Netflix, gaming, porn, gambling, sex, or (co-dependent) relationships.
Can you begin to notice how these self-medications induce more stress, either in your thoughts, emotions, actions, or interactions, whether that’s in the moment or after the fact, say in a hangover, or even in shaping your entire lifestyle?
How to Change Stressful Consumption
Begin with… being a rebel.
Think about it — inner peace and simple contentment are rebellion. Lifting above the rat-race, seeking immediate gratification, the sole purpose of pleasure, “hustling,” doing what every other unhealthy person is doing, is ALL an act of rebellion against the money made off of our illness.
Making art or talking about the society that sickens us while engaging in lifestyles that merely keep us ill isn’t shifting our experience of reality for the greater good.
Keep in mind, what is harmful to you may not be as harmful to another — focus on yourself as you journey through this process.
PLAN IT. WRITE IT // SPEAK IT. VISUALIZE.
👉🏼 Schedule a cut-back, quit, or change-your-ways date if possible.
👉🏼 Are you going to wean off or quit all at once?
👉🏼 When, where, why, and what are your triggers? (Identify your triggers by answering the questions above.)
👉🏼 Avoid these triggers as much as possible.
👉🏼 For what you can’t avoid, PLAN to do something else instead. (Look below for specific guidance with this.)
👉🏼 Once you make a plan, COMMIT: Can you do this with someone else? Can you have someone hold you accountable to this commitment?
*Weaning off minimizes withdrawal symptoms, so if this is possible, it’s easier.
*When there’s a dependency, it may be necessary to quit altogether and is crucial to have emotional or even medical support since the withdrawal symptoms, thoughts, and emotions that surface can be greater.
Focus on what to do, rather than what not to do.
It’s absolutely vital that helpful hormones are released through the process of changing habits, particularly dopamine that comes in high doses with chronic stress. You can swap dopamine sources with gratitude, enjoyment, rewards, or praise. Just make sure that those things suit what you want for yourself and your new identity.
New, healthy habits need to replace outdated, harmful habits:
👉🏼 Make a list of all of the things you — the new you — love to do. Let yourself feel excited as you envision yourself doing all of these things.
👉🏼 Schedule, PLAN, any of these activities to do in the face of foreseen triggers. Have them in mind as preferable responses to unexpected triggers.
👉🏼 It may help to focus on building one, new habit. Examples: Meditation every day. A morning routine every day. Yoga specific for stress relief everyday. Yoga to detox and relieve anger everyday. Yin yoga every day. Fresh veggies every day. Detoxifying every day. Talking to a loved one every day. A support meeting every day. Etc.
👉🏼 START SMALL: Make your new activities easily achievable — set yourself up to win at this new plan. Example: Meditate for five minutes every day, not 20. A ten minute morning routine every day, not an hour. Yoga for fifteen minutes every day, not 90. One detox method every day, no more. Fresh veggies that you enjoy, not green stuff that grosses you out. Etc.
👉🏼 EFT tapping is a practice that connects the body-mind and is a powerful tool for releasing emotions and updating limiting beliefs that may accompany emotional pain and distress. Check here to learn more about the EFT practice, and there is a tapping practice guided specifically for releasing self-sabotaging habits for healthier ones in the Holistic Liberation Facebook group.
Swap out less than healthy with healthier consumption:
👉🏼 Hot or cooled herbal teas, fruits for sugars, whole foods instead of processed foods, decaf for the caffeine addict, and even herbal cigarettes!
👉🏼 Focusing on healthy consumption habits physically, and mentally, aids in reducing cravings for what is harmful.
Praise and reward yourself for small victories — doing so releases dopamine and is crucial through this process!
👉🏼 Praise yourself wholeheartedly through every challenge. Examples: I made it through another day without smoking/drinking/bingeing! I meditated/practiced yoga/exercised/ate well again today! I made it through that event that I thought would trigger me! I’m badass! I got this!
👉🏼 Have a support system of people who will praise and support you through the challenging (and utterly rewarding) process of change.
👉🏼 Reward yourself in ways that suit the new you. Examples: After I do A, I will give myself B: After I practice yoga, I’ll treat myself to a special meal. After a week of meditating, I’ll go out with my friends. After a month of no smoking, I’ll gift myself something special. Etc.
👉🏼 Thank yourself, everyone, and everything that you possibly can in the process of facing this challenge!
When we change ourselves, we change the world.
Changing our internal world changes our external world. Herein lie our power and ultimate source of freedom!
Imagine living in a steady-state of equanimity — the ability to remain centered, calm, and collected, no matter what’s going on in the world — not from numbing out or avoiding the inherent challenge of life, or pretending that everything is alright.
Quite the contrary. Instead, we allow ourselves to feel everything that is going on and focus on our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and interactions to change our habitual responses to what goes on in our world.
Healthy, we can trust our emotions and stress as guidance to propel us in influencing change in the world, rather than our circumstances taking our right to inner peace, our love, our joy.
Check out the Holistic Liberation Program that provides detailed guidance and support through this process, and no matter what, be in touch by subscribing below.
Jyllin is an integrative health coach and creator of the Holistic Liberation Method that repatterns chronic stress in the body, mind, beliefs, emotions, and lifestyle. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Programs.