April 2017 Making Your Gray Matter

What’s In Your Wallet?

I’ve had back pain for quite a while and decided to try an unusual therapy to see if I could mitigate my pain. I’m not talking about massage, chiropractic or even acupuncture. I’m trying something simpler (and less expensive), I put my wallet in my other back pocket. It seems to be helping!

This has reminded me of how many things we do mindlessly and out of habit. This extends to how we solve problems, manage our time, manage our teams, communicate and so on. When was the last time you challenged and/or changed a habit?

At the heart of mindfulness is becoming aware of things we are mindless about. Habits! By becoming aware of our habits, we can decide if they are serving us well. Start small today. Put your wallet in the opposite pocket (warning – if you’re like me, you’ll think you’ve forgotten your wallet a few times!). If you don’t carry a wallet, or don’t carry it in a pocket, there are a number of habits you can easily challenge and change:

  • When going up or down stairs, start with the other foot (if it feels “wrong” then you’ve figured it out)
  • Put your belt on in the other direction
  • Put makeup on starting with the other side of your face
  • Shave by starting on the other side of your face
  • Put your watch on your other wrist
  • Tie your shoes by starting with the opposite lace

Regardless of which you choose, do it for a couple of days and see how that feels. Then try something more complex. The more you can do this in your everyday life, the more mindful you’ll become. And you’ll be using more of your brain.