Habits, good or bad, are one of the hardest things to break. Once they have been built up over a long period of time we don’t even realize what we are doing is indeed a routine. Brushing our teeth every morning, checking our social media accounts before we go to bed, these are patterns that we have built up over time that have now become our habitual behavior.
How Are These Habits Formed?
Think about a path in a park that walkers often make when they want to cut through to save on time. Other people will also see the beginnings of a worn path and traverse through the same spot, time and again, until this new path has now become as visible as the old. As water runs down through the cracks and crevices of rocks, it erodes jagged edges into a smooth passageway with the repetition of the stream of liquid that runs through. Our brain functions in the same way, thoughts and feelings that we have about something all run through the same cracks and crevices in our mind and patterns emerge. We find ourselves acting the same way day after day, following the channels that have been created, these channels in our mind are called Samskaras.
Samskaras make it difficult for us to take an alternate path in our brain when we are already predisposed to take another way. In some ways, this is a good thing, imagine how much potential brain energy would be wasted if we had to focus every time we brushed our teeth in the morning, or on how much sugar we take in our coffee. We wouldn’t be able to get anything done or learn anything new because our brain capacity would be full trying to remember the everyday things we do. Luckily, the fact that our brain creates these paths to make certain tasks for us mindless can help with our mundane tasks. However, when it becomes the same thought that you start to contemplate, that is when problems arise.
Every time you think to yourself that cooking isn’t your forte or that you will always be stuck in that job because you aren’t smart enough to work anywhere else, your brain starts creating these channels of thought and if becomes harder to convince yourself that you could be anything more. Those who believe they never will succeed are essentially predicting their own failure by creating a negative mantra. Having patterned thoughts is like sending a vibe out to the universe, others feed off the vibe that you emit and react accordingly. If you are continually against going for a drink after work with friends, a pattern is created and soon they will no longer ask you if you want to come along.
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Harnessing This Knowledge for Your Betterment
When you always tell yourself that you’re not fit enough to wear those jeans; you take away the power of self-love; ignoring your mother’s phone calls all the time, you will likely miss her more when she is gone; always saying no to your boss, you stall your progression of a possible promotion at your job. Once you are aware of these patterns, do you keep going along the same paths knowing that they could be costing you opportunities and meaningful relationships with others and with yourself? Allow yourself to create Samskaras that create empowerment, potential and overall positive energy in your life. Thoughts are the way to reality, learn how to change yours for the better.