Envision Your New, Preferred, Identity

What are your triggers?

How to Change Stressful Consumption

Focus on what to do, rather than what not to do.

When we change ourselves, we change the world.

Illustration of hand reaching out from water. "You don't drown by falling in water. You drown by staying there."

We want to live in a world full of love, joy, vibrancy, and creativity. We want to feel seen, heard, and respected. We want to live in a world with justice, peace, and equality. We want to see the whole of humanity receiving gifts from that world in which no one suffers, where our actions support the health of all people and our planet.

Yet to change our world, we need to 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 our beliefs about the world and who we are in it: our identity, and in turn, to change our daily patterns—our 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?

Meditation and gratitude practices are just a couple of tools to begin changing the brain, the mind, and thoughts.

👉🏼 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, so let’s do this!

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 or quit 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 is 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.

FOCUS: "The secret to change is to focus all of our energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

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 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.

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.

"Change yourself and you have done your part in changing the world." Payramahansa Yogananda

Changing our internal world changes our external world. Herein lie our power and our ultimate source of freedom!

Imagine living in a steady-state of equanimity—the ability to remain centered, cool, 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.

This is the right of all life.

Check out the Holistic Liberation Program that provides detailed guidance and support through this process, and no matter what, be in touch: How are you doing? What do you need?

"You're always one decision away from a totally different life."

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