Habits- friend or foe?
we are aware of it or not, we all have daily habits or ‘rituals.’ These are
unconscious or preconscious types of ritual, including brushing teeth,
showering, having breakfast and checking e-mails. You
can think about ‘ritual’ as something structured and comforting which we do
often, yet we do these things mainly out of habit, and while they may benefit
us to an extent we don’t particularly pay attention to this part of it. A habit
can be thought of as a ‘mindless ritual’, which could have a more beneficial
effect on us if directed skillfully.
Daily routines are largely automated, and this is beneficial in that if we had to consciously think about each step of getting dressed, pouring a cup of tea, or even walking, before and during doing these activities, it would take us hours to get out of the house. There would also not be much space or time for creativity and play.
There is a flipside – isn’t there always! Even though having many of our habits and rituals automated should leave space for exactly this, creativity tends to be missing from many people’s daily lives. So many people describe their day as “get up, routine, work, work, work, evening routine, work, sleep, and do it all again”. This is not a beneficial kind of ritual!
This week, keep an awareness of your habits and the routines that happen quietly in the background of every day. See if you can identify friend or foe.