Habits are simple things that we do often, and most times we’re not even conscious that we’ve engaging in our habits. Some of our habits are taught to us like brushing our teeth, and others we happen upon because they serve some sort of purpose in our lives. Perhaps you’re an anxious person and you pace the floors, or crack your knuckles. We’re all aware that smoking is a bad habit, or drinking too much and a whole host of other activities. Then again there are good habits like eating right, exercising, having a spiritual practice. Those are actions, but did you know that emotions can be habit-forming?
The one emotion or experience that rises to the surface after being diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness is fear. Fear can supersede all other thoughts and actions. It can cloud your vision and make you play the “what if” game way to often. It can have you future tripping about what might happen to you without provocation. It sets you in a wasteland of uncertainty. Ask yourself, “Is being afraid becoming a habit?”
I’m not sure that most of us would know whether this were actually happen, because when your caught up in the fear wave you lose sight and perspective of your current life situation. It may not be evident in actions, so you may need to take a step back and go inward. When you take the time to explore your internal life you’ll get a better reading about what’s going on physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Going inward doesn’t mean sitting on a cushion and meditating (although that is one way). Going inward can be achieved through journaling, dreamwork, creative activity, meeting with a coach, therapist, or spiritual director.
The key is to recognize if in fact fear is becoming a habit and find ways to identify when it’s creeping in to your life and how to avoid the fear trap. Believe it or not you have an established pattern, a habit, when fear is creeping in to your life. You can back track those actions so you come to recognize the behavior or thought that sets things in motion. (If you’re not sure what this might be or look like contact me) The next step is to come up with strategies to short-circuit the fear so that it doesn’t bloom. It may be as simple as replacing it with a newly formed habit.
Fear is habit-forming and interferes with your journey to wellness. It inhibits your body, mind, and spirit from working toward getting better or well. Don’t get caught in the trap!