3 Daily Habits That Are Changing My Life
Habits are a double edged sword. We have so many that damage us, and we acknowledge the ones that could help us, yet continue to diverge from them. Instead, burrowing ourselves deeper into the habits that do little to bolster our life. In this article, I want to outline the 3 Habits that have been changing my daily life for the better. These habits have grounded my anxiety from record heights, organized my thoughts, and made me more dependable and accountable to those around me.
1. Active Grounding / Walking Meditation
I have begun climbing “Meditation Mountain” once again. The practice of meditation is completely life altering, and I am determined to keep in in my tool belt forever. I haven’t been particularly successful in finding time for a deep meditation every day but have leveraged the times I do to have longer standing effects.
When I find myself in a deep meditation, I focus intently on the physical feelings within. I tell myself I am inhaling joy, and exhaling worry. The joy that I inhale fills my body like a balloon, and lifts my spirits. I harness this feeling. Like catching lightning in a bottle, capturing joy is difficult but offers unending energy at your disposal.
Where it becomes a daily habit for me, is taking a very brief moment to access my stored joy when needed. Regardless of all circumstances and surroundings, I can stop and take one long breath. Breath in the existing joy, acknowledge its presence and continue my task with a clearer view, exhaling worry on my way.
I do this most at work. When I am walking through the hallway to and from my office. I used to fill that time with looking at email on my phone, clicking a pen cap to let out anxiety, or getting so lost in worry that I raise my heart rate and lower my focus before starting my next task. Now, I try and make that ‘idle’ time a time to access pure joy and let it rejuvenate me.
Often coupled with ‘grounding’ tactics such as picking out recognizable things in my surroundings, I began calling this “Active Grounding” or “Walking Meditation”. Of course, to be able to do this, I need to keep my full meditation rituals going. Utilizing this has shown me the true super power of meditation. Joy on demand.
Journals are a brain super power. I’ve always known how useful journaling is for creativity and brainstorming. Yet, I was never able to extend the practice of journaling past my poetry. I would start a journal with the sole purpose of brainstorming poetry and drafting it. As soon as that Creativity Watering Hole would dry up, I would close the journal forever and move on. Creating no poetry, releasing no angst, and wasting paper.
I have slowly re-entered the world of journaling with a brand new lens to see through. Lately, I’ve been trying to journal EVERYTHING. I currently use multiple journals to keep my creative work, professional work, and emotional work separated. This has allowed me to tap into new levels of my own thinking.
From brainstorming, to reminders, or even just tracking emotions, writing anything and everything that is taking up space in your brain can be extremely therapeutic. Often times, my brain is moving faster than I can keep up with. Before one resolution can be derived, I’ve created 4 new problems, 10 new questions and 2 new entrepreneurial pursuits. Often effective, but not an efficient use of my brain power.
Putting a thought in writing gives yourself the allowance to move on from it momentarily. I’ve learned that most of my days can be spent in a “Worry” state. Often worrying about things that simply cannot be resolved at that time, muddying the waters for the tasks that should be worried about at the moment.
This practice was so therapeutic that I even wound up drafting several “Poem-a-Day” drafts as I went (See them on Instagram). I hope to keep journaling around forever, as it is organizing my thoughts and ambitions like never before.
3. Scheduling (Almost Obsessively)
In simple terms, my life is chaotic. The whole world is chaotic this year, with normal schedules being jumbled or destroyed. Between January and now, I had lost track of more things than I even knew I had planned…
With a job in IT, 3 Children, a Pregnant Wife, and a Podcast on the side – I have a lot in the air. Unfortunately I am not a great juggler, and have needed to work extremely hard on staying organized.
Paper or Digital?
I had started using a day planner and scheduling my day in chunks and it started to work. Until things needed to be moved around, and then it was a hectic scramble of scratching things out and rearranging my day planner… I gave up on that one. I went back to my old friend Google Calendar, and used it in a similar manner. Except, it would allow me to drag tasks around as the urgency behind them expanded like lungs gasping for air.
I now try to schedule my day out in 30 minute chunks. They fluctuate a lot, and get moved quite often, but it’s been a great practice to get into. When planning something, or accepting a new task, I can quickly look and have a visual reminder that “Hey, you have way too much already in for today.”, allowing myself to follow my boundaries and not overload my “To-Dos”.
The most valuable part of Scheduling so far has been the historic information. I can scroll back in my Google Calendar and see when things were completed, and pick up on patterns. This is incredibly useful when attempting to “batch” tasks to improve efficiency, or automate things on a schedule.
These 3 habits, along with a true passion for bettering my life and the lives around me, have instilled a new energy in me. I still have bad days, but keeping these tools on my belt is important in not dwelling on those bad days. All 3 have laid the groundwork for better emotional regulation, and reaction weight.
What habits do you do every day to make it easier?