Our strongest memories and traumas are those times marked by strong and intense emotions, stored as strong somatic signatures in the body.
One way to loosen unsupportive mind habits is to wait for that accidental jolt, a counter event that generates emotion that signals to us as safety. We do have that sometimes – a realisation, a sudden insight, like a knock on the head. Oh yeah! But if the mind habit is a strong one, it likely needs repetition. How do you engineer insightful reminders repeatedly? That’s hard isn’t it?
The other less exciting but more deliberate way is to consciously practice watching our mind habits at regular times – consciously practicing the attitudes of gentle observation, and not reacting – together with slow breathing which also signals to the brain how to create ‘safety’.
And this is part of the practice as we sit and practice a mindfulness meditation. The more times we practice, the more likely the brain can activate this skill of cultivating a safe space in times of intense emotional episodes.
It’s a slower and longer journey. Albeit a more peaceful and possible one, especially if you notice mind habits that are sabotaging your daily life.