We all have that little voice somewhere inside of us that we try to ignore. You know the one. The one that says 'this is not really what I want', 'I want things to change but I'm scared to know how' or 'I could really be behaving better in this situation'. But we do our best to deny or ignore it and go on putting up with the discomfort we create in our lives as a result, stuck in a rut and keeping busy, adding increasing distractions or drowning that voice in sleep, sugar, alcohol or other substances. Thinking that we will make a change 'one day'...acting out that old saying 'Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans!'
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Because of something called Habituation.
Habituation is a decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentations.
Examples of Habituation:
Recently our new neighbours arrived at their newly acquired property with the tools required to complete renovations of
home. Initially the sounds of drills, diggers, jackhammers etc easily distracted my from the book I am in the process of writing. But over a few hours these sounds became 'normal', I stopped trying to resist them and sent them to the background of my thoughts so I could keep on the task at hand- my writing.
Habituation can happen with positive stimuli as well. For example if you are wearing a new perfume or aftershave you might enjoy the smell of it for the first few days then it can take a friend or co worker mentioning it before you actually notice it again.
Habituation is the simplest from of learning and the benefit of it is to allow us to filter our unnecessary intrusions and focus on a task without distraction.
Challenges of Habituation:
Like everything Habituation has its light and shadow. Its negative side is that it allows us to live in a rut tolerating higher levels of discomfort for longer than we should, to lack appreciation for the pleasurable things and most importantly help us ignore that irritating little voice inside of us that is telling us to do it differently!
So how do we get out of the rut?
1. Recognize that it is not your fault you've ended up in a rut, its part of your biology. Have compassion for yourself rather than judgement, as judgement creates resistance.
2. Make the choice to be in charge of your life rather than leaving it to your biology, its up to you.
3. Find something in your life to be grateful for everyday.
Gratitude is a powerful state changer and finding something different each day helps to override your habituation setting.
4. Be willing to embrace discomfort.Any change, even much longed for ones, bring a level of discomfort with them simply due to their unfamiliarity. Embracing discomfort ie. making it ok allows you to tolerate it in a way that makes habituation work FOR you- it becomes your new normal.
5.Take responsibility for yourself and decide you're going to grow within the discomfort as belief creates reality.
6. Try something new on a regular basis, whether it is just a new meal, new book, new habit like an evening walk, a new meditation or idea in the bedroom or a new way of being in yourself. Recognize how this keeps you open to the process of change in all areas of your life.
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