|"Choose Happiness" Collage by Lani and textures from FlyPaper|
1. "Mindful Mindlessness" - This is where we see ourselves in that Krispy Kreme line as it is happening but we really don't feel able to stop ourselves or leave the line. In this stage we can bring a mindful curiosity to to the situation rather than criticism.
2. We start to notice what our impulses feels like. We can identify the feelings of craving, the instinct to grab a doughnut, the emotion involved. Here's where we can begin to find the space or gap between the impulse and the action which gives us freedom. This is where we can remember what we really care about most. In this freedom gap, we can find wisdom emerging.
3. The third stage is where we become aware of what triggers the impulse to get in that Krispy Kreme line. We start to realize that we are most likely to be triggered in particular situations or environments, and at certain levels of tiredness or anxiety. We can find the things that trigger us, the things that flip the switch that triggers the [doughnut] habit. Once we find those things, we can start to construct our life in ways that support us. (Oh happy day!)
4. The fourth stage of awareness is the one where we become aware that it is our [doughnut] habits that creates our suffering.
For a week, test McGonigal's theories about stress (physical or psychological) being the enemy of self-control. How does being worried or overworked affect your choices? What is your will-power like when you are hungry or tired? What about when you are in physical pain, illness, or emotional pain like anger, loneliness or sadness? Notice when stress strikes throughout the day or week. And watch what happens to your self-control! When you catch your elephant taking you to "Tasty Creme" maybe try asking yourself about your stress, look for your triggers. Are there some little things could you change to avoid these triggers?