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How To Find Your Center

How To Find Your Center

The human mind can be extremely complex, multifaceted and ever-changing, so getting control over the most powerful organ we have at our disposal can be at times frustrating, irritating and desperately difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to ‘find your centre’, i.e. find and focus on your core self, shedding the extraneous of the world and achieving the calm and control we all need.

Without further adieu, here are eight of the best ways to find your center and become the chilled, relaxed person you were meant to be.

1. Just Breathe–You’ll Immediately Feel Better

Yes, I know, we all do it, but let’s be honest: how often do you really take notice of how you breathe? Do it now–take some deep, deep breaths and hold for four beats. Then breathe out for a count of four. See how much calmer and more centered you feel?

Being conscious of how we breathe and what we do can help us be in the moment and take stock of everything, allowing us to find our center much more easily.

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2. Sleep More to Feel Better Tomorrow

As someone who hated sleep with a vengeance as a child, I can honestly say that sleep is awesome. Sleep is amazing.

Therefore, any chance I get, I’m taking naps or going to bed earlier just so I feel more refreshed, happier and more ready to take on the world at my very best. Finding your center is all about your optimal conditions, so go ahead and experiment with your amount of sleep until you find the right amount for you.

3. Organize for Peace of Mind and Efficiency

Organizing stuff has recently become a passion of mine, largely because as a teenager, I lived in a perpetual state of rummaging around piles of crap to actually find the thing I wanted.

I’m not suggesting you all become Martha Stewart and have pristine, perfect rooms and organizational skills–trust me, most days of the week I can barely remember what to do in that moment–but clearing the decks and having a bit of structure in your life can be a boon to helping you find and channel your best self at your core.

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4. Lose Yourself in Music

Finding that perfect song for that perfect moment is something we’ve all experienced at least once and which, believe me, can induce the kind of calm and serenity that you need.

It doesn’t even need to be relaxing music–I’ve used EDM, dance, pop, rock, metal, anything with a great beat, and lost myself in that right beat and right song. Listening to music has made me focus on the real things and given me great motivation and grounding. Go get your beat on, and if you dance while doing it, at least you’re also getting your strut on and burning some calories too!

5. Never Stop Reading

We should never, ever stop reading in my opinion, and people who do are kind of missing out on all the wonderful, amazing, inspiring things to be found in books and articles and magazines and whatever you choose as your medium. Reading also has the fun side effect of ensuring that you’re in the moment–if you’re watching a film, you can easily be checking your phone or replying to a Tweet, but reading means that you have to be in the moment to immerse yourself in that world.

6. Believe in Everything You Can

Never stop believing in stuff. In people, in beliefs, in whatever. The fact is that having hope and a passion and a true belief in something roots you in something solid and it grounds you.

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It doesn’t have to be religion in any way shape or form–faith or belief is a strong bond or emotional resolution in something. Finding your center is about finding those beliefs–such as being kind to others or voting in every election–and cultivating the hell out of them.

7. Look for the Good in All Things

There are good things everywhere as long as you keep looking for them. This is something that is kind of ingrained in us as children, but which we sometimes forget. The media tells us of the horrible, scary world we live in and why we should be afraid of practically everything.

There is so much in the world that is good and worthwhile and worth celebrating that focusing on the good in the world and actively searching for the great and the wonderful can not only center yourself; it can make you appreciate life a hell of a lot more.

8. Meditate Daily to Relax

Meditation, meditation, meditation. It’s something that should be part of anyone and everyone’s repertoire of ways to relax and find themselves some inner peace on a regular basis.

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Finding your center is about letting all the miscellaneous fall away, all the unnecessary parts of our lives that we don’t need in that moment, and just letting our selves, our true selves, emerge through the quiet and serenity that meditating can provide. Plus you can do it anywhere, as long as there’s some quiet and some time.

It may take a while–meditation isn’t a first-time-sure-fire thing, after all–but you’ll eventually find yourself dealing with situations with more and more grace and competence than usual. And that’s something worth investing in, right?

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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