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Getting Your Head Together In 10 Minutes a Day: A Busy Person’s Guide to Keeping Sane!

Getting Your Head Together In 10 Minutes a Day: A Busy Person’s Guide to Keeping Sane!


    Too busy in your hectic life to “take ten” to ground yourself for the day? Too much to do and too little time? Stressed out beyond belief and you can’t imagine sparing any extra time to stop and take stock and take a daily pulse? Do you want to get off this endless cycle of “to dos” but can’t seem to get away from your life “inbox?”

    Just when you feel like you cannot take “one more thing,” perhaps it’s time to try this “Get Your Head Together” plan for just one week.

    What have you got to lose? No more than 60 minutes.

    And what you can gain? A lifetime of a clearer head and a happier heart – and a chance to manage your stress rather than carry it.

    Isn’t it worth the trade off?

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    Even if you exercise in the morning before you start your day, surely you can spare 10 minutes to exercise your mental muscles! So let’s start by giving a ten minute plan to start the day off right!

    1st Minute: Start the day by writing out one positive intention.

    Think of an action or resolution that will help you put a positive spin on the day. Examples: Today I will make an effort to smile more. When I am in the meeting, I will say at least two things even if I fear sounding stupid. This will help me to less immobilized by my fears. 

    2nd Minute: Take a mindfulness moment for a morning mediation.

    Consciously slow your breathing, taking deep breaths and attempt to focus only on the sensations around you. How do you feel? What do you smell? What do you visualize? Example: Help yourself breath deeply by putting your hand on your stomach, feeling it extend and deflate as you breathe.  Most of us have shallow breathing and this “backwards breathing” as they teach in Yoga takes in more air to nourish the mind! 

    3rd Minute: Have on hand a menu of inspirational quotes or passages that you can choose from every day.

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    A moment of inspiration will prevent a lot of mental perspiration! Example:  “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle; “We might not have it all together, but together we have it all! ” – Unknown.

    4th Minute: Think in “victor language and not “victim” language.

    Take an inventory of any negative thoughts that interfere with a positive outlook and take a minute to W.A.I.T. and ask yourself What Am I Thinking?  Identify irrational, judgmental thoughts and replace them with more rational thoughts. Separate fact from fiction! Example:  Replace negative and illogical thoughts such as ”My boss made me so mad yesterday. I can’t stand him” with “ I was mad when my boss raised his voice to me yesterday and scolded me, and I will tell him I do not deserve to be talked to like that.”

    5th Minute: Each day strive to be conscious of gratefulness for the gift of life.

    Identify at least three things you are especially grateful for. Example:  “I am grateful that I have a family that loves me and to whom I can give love, that I have freedom to choose a positive attitude, and that I get another chance to learn from and build on my successes and mistakes of my yesterdays”

    6th Minute: Surrender any grudges and bitterness.

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    Realize that a lack of forgiveness pulls you into the world of negativity, and strive to forgive everyone for everything. Example: “I forgive my ex-spouse for falling short in his behavior towards me, and although I do not condone certain behaviors, I will not keep the bitterness within – it only poisons me.

    7th Minute: Visualize a successful outcome today.

    Even if it does not come true the way you visualize, the positive visualization makes your attitude more positive no matter what! Example: Roleplay in your mind or visualize a calm response in dealing with your argumentative children.  

    8th Minute: Smile and Say Cheese!

    Swiss Cheese is full of holes – and so is our lives. It’s how you get through these holes that counts! So smile and embrace life’s imperfections!  Learn and grow from them! Example:  “I will make an effort to have a sense of humor when faced with obstacles instead of losing my sense of humor when things do not go the way I  think they “should.”

    9th Minute: Stretch your mind!

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    Think of a metaphor that will inspire you today. Comprise a list of metaphors to pick from each day. Think of your metaphor as your daily mascot to keep you in check! Example:  One powerful metaphor is that of the sunflower. A sunflower is big, bold, loves lightness and with enough light grows rapidly and robustly. It reminds us that if we keep thinking positively, we will flourish!

    10th Minute: Tell yourself something nice about yourself each day.

    This is called a positive affirmation. Tell yourself something you really admire about yourself, and this reminder will help you start the day off right by thinking straight to feel great! Example:  “I am proud that I keep trying new things and I embrace change.”  

    Wishing you the best on taking a time out as you work on transforming your life and yourself 10 minutes at a time! Are you truly too busy for that? I welcome comments to hear your reactions and tips!

    (Photo credit: Businessman Emotional via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People 11 WARNING Signs Of Unhealthy Relationships You Need to Be Aware Of Robin Williams’ Death Is A Wake-Up Call: 12 Natural Ways To Fight Depression Quick Test: What Is Your Forgiveness IQ? 7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day … and Your Life!

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    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

    Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

    Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

    If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

    Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

    1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

    Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

    Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

    Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

    2. No Motivation

    Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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    This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

    If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

    3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

    Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

    A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

    A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

    The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

    4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

    One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

    We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

    Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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    You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

    5. Upward Comparisons

    Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

    The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

    These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

    Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

    6. No Alternative

    This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

    Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

    Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

    Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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    7. Stress

    As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

    When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

    We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

    If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

    8. Sense of Failure

    People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

    Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

    Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

    If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

    9. The Need to Be All-New

    People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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    These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

    10. Force of Habit

    Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

    Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

    These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

    Final Thoughts

    These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

    There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

    More on Breaking Bad Habits

    Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
    [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
    [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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