Yogic philosophy says that we all have a set of samskaras, or mental and emotional patterns (read: habits). Our habits can have significant effects (positive or negative) on our health, happiness and well-being. And, our habits are only habits as long as we fuel them with energy.
This week, choose one of your own habits/samskaras that effects you negatively. Spend a little time acknowledging why it has become a habit of yours and how it makes you feel. Then, spin it 180 degrees! Turn that one negative samskara into a positive one.
Note that completely re-wiring your thought or heart patterns around that habit will take time. Use your one minute mental workout to set the stage for this shift, and you will immediately start to feel changes. A few examples:
Negative Samskara: You have a sweet tooth that can only be satisfied by dessert after every meal, so you indulge in unhealthy treats frequently. You feel weighed-down by this negative habit. // Positive Samskara Spin: Rather than depriving yourself of sweets, you find healthier sweet foods to snack on, such as fruit. Over time, you will find your sweet tooth satisfied by this simple substitution and you will have created a new, more positive mental and emotional pattern.
Negative Samskara: At the end of the day, you often find yourself exhausted, so you unwind by zoning out in front of the TV, rather than interacting with your family. This leaves you feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. // Positive Samskara Spin: Find a TV show that the whole family can enjoy together, watch a single episode, then spend time talking about the show with one another, with the TV off. By sharing the TV experience with each other, you can enjoy a little downtime, and foster more personal interactions, which can be very comforting and nourishing at the end of a long day.
Negative Samskara: You constantly compare yourself to others — your looks, your weight, your clothes, your wealth, your personality. As a result, you feel shamed and inferior. // Positive Samskara Spin: Whenever you catch yourself sizing someone else up and creating stories in your head around why he or she appears so thin/happy/better-than-you, stop and acknowledge that you are, in fact, creating a story. What you are experiencing is your own fabrication. Instead of letting someone’s positive features and attributes affect you negatively, delight in them. Chances are, those around you will delight in your ability to do this!