Attachment is one of the most dominant processes within our brain! Simply put, we are wired to want to repeat behaviors that bring emotional rewards.
Emotional rewards can mean "positive" or pleasurable feelings, or a relief from “unpleasant” or challenging ones.
Attachments/habits can either enhance our personal power (the control we have over our mindset, inner experience, and behavior) or hinder it—in cases where we give in to our habits and experience a loss of control (which frequently cripples our self esteem).
An example of a habit that hinders personal power may be an attachment to snacking as a way of coping with anxiety or effortful thinking, which offers a short-term anxiety relief through providing a temporary escape, however subsequently is likely to diminish our self-esteem :-(.
Growing in our consciousness
There are a lot of approaches to managing the attachment/habit/addiction process within us, in a way that empowers us to gain greater control over our mindset and choices.
Whatever the approach, the common denominator is growing in consciousness, diverting mental traffic away from our habit brain through making use of our frontal, thinking brain.
Personal power is all about consistent re-claiming of control over where we chose to re-direct our attention, and the responsibility we take over the shaping of our inner experience and behavior. It is taking control away from the habit brain to dominate our mindset and choices.
Our habit brain
Our habit brain is MEANT to distract us; we are meant to crave snacks in the midst of writing a report... It is how we are wired and having cravings does not mean that anything is wrong!
Accepting that our brain wants to keep us safe and comfortable helps us to relate to this process with awareness and compassion.
The pulling of our habit-brain become a problem when:
we are judgemental about this process taking place and feel frustrated with ourselves; or
when we repeatedly succumb to the distractions of the habit brain.
Alternatively, we can bring awareness to this natural process and make a conscious decision about how to respond to it. We can decide to recognize the pull of our attention towards less challenging and more pleasurable pursuits and make a decision with our conscious, thinking brain to create a daily plan and stay on tasks (i.e. most treatments for addiction do exactly this, through firstly bringing awareness to the triggers and secondly through setting a plan up for coping with them.)
Mindfulness allows us to be conscious of our mental processes. To sit with them with compassion and observe them… Why do I feel like I need to check my emails right now? Could it be my habit’s brain reaction to feeling uncomfortable?
Mindfulness also allows us to decide how to respond to triggers and habitual responses. What's most exciting is that we have endless opportunities to do so, from dialoguing with ourselves with words of encouragement and support to setting goals, journaling, and purposefully responding to our feelings...
To staying strong within,