Saturday, August 21, 2010

Are You Paying Attention?

I received a thought-provoking email the other day about habits--the things you do day in and day out without thinking about them.  Habits can be useful; often it's the most efficient way to get something done, but they become a liability when you start to move through the day on autopilot instead of being conscious of your actions.

The message offered as an example tooth brushing.  How did I do it?  I realized I didn't have a clue, so yesterday I made a real effort to notice.  Much to my surprise, I figured out I did it the exact same way every time.  Talk about being on autopilot!  After I wet the brush and put toothpaste on it, I brushed my left outer, right outer, and center front teeth.  Next I moved to the inside surface  and cleaned bottom right, bottom left, top left, top right, top front and bottom front. Then I ran the brush along the chewing surfaces and repeated the whole procedure a second time.  After everything was cleaned I "swished" with water, rinsed the brush, and put it away.

I guess it's a good idea to have a pattern for brushing so that I don't forget any areas. But today in the interest of practicing awareness I reversed my teeth brushing pattern and went backwards.  First the chewing surfaces, then the insides, and the outsides last.  It was not intuitive; I had to think about it as I was doing it, and it took a lot longer, but I had the satisfaction of being truly aware of what I was doing.


  1. And I thought I just did things the same way over and over because it was OCD!

  2. One way to make the brain work overtime.

  3. I'm determined that as I get older I will not fall into a rut. It's such a fine line between comfort/familiarity and slavish routine!

  4. I love this post! I'm told switching up our routines keeps our minds stimulated thus keeps us young. I'll do whatever it takes! :)