brainHACKs to Create Healthy Habits

brainHACKs to Create Healthy Habits

Where do you start with health goals when you feel like you have no time or emotional bandwidth? Start the new year as a true you. A real you. An authentic you.  

brainHACK a Healthy Goal with a brainSHIFT

If you have been a part of our virtual keynote lecture or workplace wellness course brainSHIFT at Work, you know I am a fangirl of brainSHIFTs.

A brainSHIFT is a micro habit that we consciously choose, one goal or action that feels easy, good, and nourishing to our mind, body, or spirit. What is a micro habit? Micro habits are one action that requires minimal motivation or effort to complete.

The idea is over time; a micro habit will slowly build on top of itself and result in a significant change.

brainSHIFT: pick one micro habit that feels joyful to your mind, body, & spirit

How do you choose a brainSHIFT?

When it comes to your health, what do you really want? What do you desire?

If the answer contains the words “should, would, could” in it, then it is not a deep desire.

“If I had time, I would go to the gym…”

“I know I should give up carbs, but….”

“If only I could end my addiction to energy drinks….”

Rarely are we in tune with intentions: the deep desire within us that guides us to balance in our mind, body & spirit. 

When we take a moment to pause and quiet the noise, pressure, and negative chatter all around us- ask yourself, how would “True You” want to look and feel?

Mindfulness Exercise: Body Scan Meditation for Goal Setting

Mindfulness: Body Scan Meditation

The body scan mediation is designed to help you develop a mindful awareness of your bodily sensations. In performing a body scan meditation, we can start to quiet down the external world chatter. 

By focusing on different parts of our bodies, our minds focus on areas of tension, stress. We breathe deeply, and then we can set an intention for well-being and relieving tension wherever it is found. 

Get comfortable. Sit in a comfortable place and fully relax your body.

Take a few deep breaths. Let your breathing slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath.

Bring awareness to your feet. Now slowly bring your attention down to your feet. Begin observing sensations in your feet. If you notice any uncomfortable sensations, focus your attention on them. Breathe into them, and see what happens. Visualize the tension leaving your body through your breath and evaporating into the air. 

Scan your entire body. Continue this practice with each area of your body, gradually moving up through your feet until you reach the top of your head. 

Now ask yourself, in this minute, what does my body need to feel healed, whole, & healthy?

(You can listen to a guided body scan mediation on the Wellness Evolved Podcast guided in the guided meditation section)

Examples of brainHACKs to create a brainSHIFT

There are several categories of health that contribute to our sense of well-being. In integrative medicine we look at each individual as a whole being, and one recipe or plan does not fit all. 

Categories of health
  1. Sleep
  2. Nutrition
  3. Movement
  4. Meditation
  5. Spirituality
  6. Relationships/community

Take a look at different wellness areas, and ask yourself, “what do my mind, body, and spirit need?” Too often, we attempt to create goals in all of these areas, defeating the brainSHIFT concept. Instead, pick one brainSHIFT (micro habit) at a time.

Now, what is one small action you can take that feels easy, fun, and most of all true to you? Set a time frame to try this goal for one week. 

Here are some examples to give you a start.

SLEEP

  • Replace your phone with an actual alarm clock
  • Talk to your doctor about sleep study
  • Try to replace prescription sleeping pills with holistic/natural sleep aids 
  • Declutter your bedroom

YOUR LIFE PURPOSE

  • Read, “Find Your Why” by Simon Sinek
  • Find and work with a life coach or therapist
  • Find an organization to volunteer your time

NUTRITION

  • Drink enough water for my weight daily (take your weight in pounds, divide by 2) 
  • Replace soda/diet soda/energy drinks with water/juice/tea
  • Add vegetables to every meal

MOVEMENT

  • Hire a personal trainer
  • Commit to doing 10 pushups or plank for 1 minute daily
  • Buy a personal fitness tracker to track your steps
  • Try to commit to 10,000 steps daily
  • Sign up for your first 5K, half or full marathon
  • Try a dance, spinning, yoga, pilates class

MEDITATION

  • Create a morning ritual that helps you avoid your digital devices for at least 1 hour
  • Start a home meditation practice 
  • Read a book on mindfulness
  • Download a meditation app on your phone and try it for 21 days

Summary

  • Find a quiet place and time when you are free of distractions.
  • Try the body scan meditation or another activity that helps you feel calm and find stillness.
  • Then review the wellness triangle, is there one area that you desire to focus on to feel healed, whole, & healthy?

Self-Awareness Exercise: Pick and Stick to Your Goal

What stops us from succeeding in fulfilling our desires, intentions, or goals?

When the brain tries to change, our subconscious mind hijacks our emotional and memory center. In this emotionally hijacked state, fear haunts us in the form of worries, limiting beliefs, & self-sabotaging behaviors. 

Try these cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to help you pick and stick to a goal.

Self-awareness questions to ponder regarding your brainSHIFT goal:

  1. What are the excuses I give myself of “why I will fail”?
  2. What could go wrong?
  3. How would you recover?
  4. What is the cost of inaction?
  5. What could go right?

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