Tweaking Our Lives
by Linda Anderson Krech
Many of us have lifestyle changes we’d like to make. In theory. But we also have lifestyle habits that we are deeply attached to. As complex creatures of habit, we don’t care much for change. We are accustomed to the particulars of how we live — the how, what, where, and when of our lives. That’s what we’re used to, and that’s what we expect.
To tamper with any of it, even a little bit, can put us off balance and out of sorts. To tweak how we live our lives can disturb our equilibrium and leave us uncomfortable, unsettled, and a bit on edge. Too many of our well-intentioned changes have been nipped in the bud by this initial experience.
Let’s think about how to stay on track with our plans, despite the background hum of discomfort we may be aware of.
First of all, don’t be taken by surprise. It is only natural that your bodymind will want what it is accustomed to. Why wouldn’t it?? Your discomfort doesn’t mean that something is wrong; it just means that something is different. So if you experience a wave of minor agitation, just smile and welcome it, befriend it, as part of your evolving story. Good for you. You’ve done something different.
Also, be careful not to exaggerate the discomfort. We can be very sensitive beings when it comes to such internal changes, but if we actually tune in to the experience, we can recognize its harmless nature. You’re not in pain. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just notice the subtle sensations rippling through, grabbing your attention. That’s all there is. It’s unsettling, but nothing more.
Use distraction skillfully. Use your senses to stay in the present and become engaged with the world around you. When you feel the inner tug of your discomfort, open your eyes a little wider and see what you can see. Listen to the sounds around you. Take the initiative to redirect your attention deliberately, rather than being a victim of your inner state.
Coexist with your discomfort. We’re grownups and we can do this. We can endure unpleasant feelings, from time to time, for the benefits we will reap. We’ve experienced discomfort in the past after eating too much and we found our way through that. Now we are feeling discomfort as we make positive changes to our lifestyle. Don’t give your feelings more power than they have. Just take a breath and let your feelings be what they are. They are fickle, anyway, and will change before you know it.
And finally, use purpose as your guide. What prompted you to make the changes you are making? Consider the benefits you might experience and the problems you might avoid. Why do your choices matter and who else might be impacted by what you do? Let your purpose light the way and keep you steady.