In all the people I have met or helped. I have come to find that the greatest obstacle to a more fullfilling and happy life is not from without but that from within. This struggle from within has to do with our mind, emotions and the choices we make. Below is an article from Yoga Journal that is great concerning this subject.
When y0u catch yourself engaging in unhealthy behavior - recklessly spending money, wolfing down a box of cookies, needing your lover to change or ignoring your kids so that you can hang out online - practice Pratipaksha Bhavana, a type of cognitive reframing that can act as a behavioral reset button. This Sanskrit term comes directly from the youga sutra and can be translaed as "When obstructive thoughts arise. practice opposite thought." In other words, when you find yourself indulging in negative thoughts and behaviors, you can stop and cultivate the opposite thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
This simple practice can help you slowly gain control over your mind by guiding it away from negative thoughts and behaviors and toward those that are in line with your highest ideals. You can practice Pratipaksha Bhavana by running through the following four-step mental checklist whenever you realize your succumbing to a bad habit. It will give you a fresh perspective so that you can act wisely rather then reacting unconsciously with a old behavior pattern.
- Take a deep breath and then name the problem. Admit to yourself, "Yes, I did that. I yelled at my child; I ate half a bag of chips; I lacked compassion for my coworker." Only when you are aware of your unconscious patterns can you choose a different thought or course of action.
- Remind yourself that it's OK to make mistakes. Your inner critic might respond to your behavior with self-judgment, discouragement or shame , but you can reframe the slip-up by adopting an attitude of loving kindness toward yourself.
- Express gratitude toward yourself for noticing the behavior and for being aware of its unpleasant effect on you. Be grateful that you want to make a positive change and that you are choosing to be more caring toward yourself and others.
- Finally let your desire to create better habits direct your vital force toward thoughts and actions that truly serve you and choose your next steps consciously. You might, for example. apologize to your child. seal the bag of chips and eat an apple instead, or turn your mind toward a mantra or positive affirmation instead of criticizing your co - worker.
- If you use this mental checklist on a regular basis, you may find that your positive habits get stronger and your negative ones begin to wither away. As you flex your muscles of awareness, they, too, will grow stronger. You'll begin to see the behavioral patterns that undermine your well-being, and you'll eventually be able too make better choices to begin with.
Source: Yoga Journal Febuary 2012