Whether you observe Lent for religious purposes, or just use the time as an opportunity to reflect, realign and restate your New Year’s resolutions, the 40 days that follow Mardi Gras can help you adapt to healthier habits.
The following suggestions will help you brighten your perspective during this thoughtful time of restraints so you don’t experience success-stealing withdrawals from your favorite guilty pleasures. Turn your old bad habits into new healthy habits by incorporating mindfulness meditation and yoga, and by repeating positive affirmations.
The next time you find yourself craving left over Valentine’s Day candy for example, instead of rushing for the half eaten heart shaped box of chocolates, stop and take a moment to think before you act. Feeling powerless over food cravings can lower your self-esteem, leading to more cravings. Break the vicious cycle by pausing, connecting with the feelings and sensations associated with wanting to eat the candy, and then let go of the need to oblige your desire. Easier said than done? Not if you practice, again and again. The more you partake in mindfulness meditation, the more natural it becomes. Eventually you will be the ruler of your cravings, rather than a slave to them.
The best part about yoga is that it can be done at anytime, by anyone. All you need is the time to take some long, slow deep breaths and the calming benefits of yoga will wash over you. Who doesn’t have time to breathe?
Breaking a bad habit is tough and the key to success is re-patterning your mind to adopt new habits. Rhythmic breathing is a great way to calm your mind and release your thoughts. When your thoughts are quiet and slow, you can change them. Pretty soon you will believe in yourself and your new healthy lifestyle, while your old, bad habits become a distant memory.
What you believe you can achieve. Every morning, through the 40 days of Lent, I challenge you to repeat your intention out loud or silently in your mind. Let every dawn be a new day to be successful with your plan to be healthier. You once told yourself things that supported your unhealthy habits, so do the same to unwind your old thought patterns and wake up to a brand new you every day.