How many of us have yelled at someone we love because we feel that they are being unkind? The thing we value is kindness, and yet we are being unkind in its defense. This is not hypocrisy, this is humanity. It is something that we are all capable of.
Each of us has a brain that is designed for both survival and growth.
The survival brain assumes that what we have done repeatedly in the past is the reason we have lived to see today’s sunrise. When we are challenged, we tend to return to familiar patterns of thought, feelings, and behavior — even when these may go against our highest values or goals. Our comfortable habits sometimes undermine our most important commitments and relationships.
Human beings are capable of consciously feeding our growth brains.
The growth brain makes decisions based on purpose and importance. We can practice awareness, acceptance, compassion, gratitude, courage, and awe. We can practice taking good care of our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and our communities.
Here’s the challenge — the survival brain can lead us to forget to practice. It can come up with really convincing reasons to return to old habits or to “get started tomorrow.”
So, how do we remember to practice?
How do you remind yourself to meditate, exercise, get enough sleep, reach out to a friend, listen to others, stand up for yourself, stand up for others, and connect with unconditional love in the face of unwanted circumstances?
There are many ways to keep your good life practice front and center — alarms, sticky notes, calendars, temporary tattoos, beads on your wrist, practice partners, to-do lists, screen savers, reminder apps.
What do you do to remember to practice a good life? Let us know in the comment section what works for you. You may have a technique that someone else could find useful. Thank you.