Get in the Habit: tactics to prevent 2020 from hijacking your well-being
Updated: Oct 28
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit"
Your habits can save you during a crisis.
I wrote an article about dozens of habits I’ve been doing the past 6 years, and this 2020 psychological thriller makes a follow-up feel apropos.
The upshot: the biggest mental health crisis of a generation is formidable… but habits have saved me.
My subconscious/body has been triggering habits (meditation, dancing, shouting mantras), even on particularly rough days, then those activities boosted my mood.
Depression and anxiety are paralyzing the nation at a record pace, but your habits are your secret weapon for resilience.
Thought experiment: imagine an alien takes over your consciousness.
Even though the alien has control of your consciousness, your daily habits are triggered by the subconscious/body, so the alien would end up engaging in your day-to-day habits without thinking.
The alien would in many ways walk and talk like you because of the habits you had built up.
Now, imagine it’s not an alien that takes over. Rather, imagine you go through a series of events that threaten to change you *cough 2020*
Look at yourself objectively (your mood, mannerisms, subtleties) and compare to “you” back when you were your best self sometime before 2020.
As your mind gets pounded with bad news and isolation you might have started to become a different person... a person you don’t necessarily want to be.
You've probably seen it happen to friends. You don’t see them for a while and when you do, they’ve changed dramatically. It’s almost like they’re a different person.
The same thing can happen to you and the process is slow, almost imperceptible.
However when you have healthy habits ingrained, your subconscious/body will trigger the habits regardless of outside factors and keep you grounded.
If the habits are thoughts (e.g. matras like “I’m effing unstoppable” or “I am loved” or “I can do this”) then your subconscious will “think” them without you intending to do so.
If the habits are activities your body will trigger that activity without you actively planning the movement.
These habits are your totem during crisis.
Here are my top 5 habits from the aforementioned article:
Vigorous dancing along with shouting your favorite mantras
It’s never too late to start building new habits. However you’re doing lately, try a new habit… it might save you later.
If you want to see with your own eyes how you change over time, try out the Resilience Diary.