Every habit is a cooperative venture between body and mind. Generally speaking, the mind leads the venture and body follows as a silent partner. It is attention, or awareness, that touches the sleeping powers of the mind and makes them vital again. The smallest shift of attention can change the world you perceive and the body you live with.
Guidelines for new habits:
1. The habit should be acquired effortlessly over a period of time.
2. It should be guided by positive thoughts.
3. It should be consciously repeated, but always in a good frame of mind, never forced in as the enemy of a bad habit.
Cultivated in this way, new habits condition the whole mind-body system to create health and happiness automatically.
I am again reminded of those two sentences from Abraham Maslow about very healthy, creative people: “What such a person wants and enjoys is apt to be just what is good for him. His spontaneous reactions are as capable, efficient and right as if they had been thought out in advance.” It sounds too good to be true, but is just habit at work.
All that is needed is the awareness that the unconscious mind can be changed in its routine, and then one simply changes it. People who have been unhappy all their lives can become happy simply by realizing that the source of change is inside themselves.
The unconscious can be refined and rechanneled through suggestions, repetition, and above all, attention. Do not fret too much over “how it all happens”—that is just an old mindset saying, “It won’t happen, it can’t.”
Adapted from Creating Health, by Deepak Chopra (Houghton Miffin Company, 1987).