Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

How Mindfulness Can Help Your Clients Kick a Habit

Posted on 27-7-2017 by Fiona Cosgrove

We are aware that most of our work as coaches, focuses on helping adopt new habits and get rid of a few old ones.  Of course there is a bigger conversation that precedes this but eventually, we have to face the fact that certain behaviours have to go!

And it’s not easy.  

But here’s a new approach.  We have always said that we need to replace an old habit with a new one. But what if we could simply “turn the switch off” and knock that old habit on the head.  We can. By revisiting Mindfulness.

Let’s think about those habits.  Most of the time we are indulging the behavior because we’re not feeling so good. We could be tired, stressed, bored, frustrated, anxious or sad.  We reach for the food, the wine, Facebook, the cigarettes…We use the habit as a way of coping.  And this is where mindfulness begins its work.  By noticing what is going on for us, and paying attention to the cycle we have got into, we can start to change things.  But the important point is that we need to pay attention but not judge. 

So here is a step by step approach to using mindfulness as a way of breaking the cycle.

Note the craving, recognize the feeling and avoid rationalizing it

Accept that the craving is there. Don’t do anything about it, just accept it.  Don’t try to ignore it or distract yourself, just accept it.

Get curious and notice how you feel.  Identify your thinking and remember, your thoughts are not you!  

Make a mental note of how you feel – or even better write it down! Use a word or phrase and put a label on it.  When you give a feeling a name, it calms your brain.  

You are now in a better place to “surf the craving” and you may well find you can ride it out and it passes on its own. The trick is to become more aware, mindful about what is going on at the time the behavior is about to kick in. The more we become interested in what is happening in our minds and bodies, turn towards our experience rather than away from it, the sooner we can take control back of our actions, and our life.

REFERENCE:  The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer
Highly recommended:  
Barking up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker.

About the Author - Fiona Cosgrove

Fiona Cosgrove’s 25 years experience as a business owner, a trainer, lecturer, coach and presenter, positions her well to identify and employ the strengths of your staff making your business a pleasure to work in and deal with. 


David Gladwell commented on 01-Aug-2017 04:39 PM
Mindfulness is an amazing tool as stated above. Being a mindfulness and meditation instructor, i have seen how mindfulness can achieve great results for a person. It may be also beneficial to note that it is one thing to be aware and observe a craving, reaction or reasoning for something, but also to be aware of one's own body primarily. When we are aware of both our emotional and physical bodily responses to triggers we can then be in a place mentally to rationalise these and bring mindfulness into a place that becomes incredibly valuable. If we can sit peacefully and experience each part of our bodily sensations, we can in actual fact then segregate an area of concern, be it physical or mental. We can learn how to respond mindfully to a concern and remove ourselves from reacting. Basic meditation practiced daily over time will allow ourselves and clients to be more aware and there for practice mindfulness more deeply. The quieter our mind is the more mindful we can be. Hope this helps or at the very least adds something beneficial to the above.
Thanks Dave
Anonymous commented on 14-Aug-2017 07:53 PM
Mindfulness could be defined as attention or focus. There are two categories: Involuntary Mindfulness and Voluntary Mindfulness. The first is automatic: for example: somebody comes into a room with a shotgun and says, "This is a hold up." you ARE mindful. You are drawn by the emotion of fear.

On the other hand, if you deliberately focus on, say, a spot on the wall, and try to keep you full attention on that spot, allowing no other thought to enter, this is Voluntary Mindfullness. This takes dedicated practice to achieve any real progress.

Mindfulness is a term commonly bandied around of late, but few are capable of using it to any sustained and lasting positive effect - unless they determine to make it a life work.

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