The one habit to rule them all

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

Changing a habit is simple in concept but difficult in practice. But I found a hack that might help you too, and it’s finding your keystone habit.

A keystone habit is one change that you can focus on, which will start a chain reaction to changing other habits. Like the keystone in an archway, it holds up and supports lots of other little habits. And if you are trying to change all the other little habits but neglecting your keystone, that can also make change more difficult.

If you’re still not sure, here’s my story of finding a keystone this year that helped everything else fall into place. …


When having it all means losing your self

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash

She ran the campus clinic and was married to my graduate advisor. Both at the top of their game, both doctors (she an MD, he a Ph.D.). He was a wunderkind obtaining multiple appointments fresh out of grad school, she oversaw the health of the entire university. They were the “perfect” family. Two kids: one boy, one girl. Both children were gifted and polite. A house right out of Dwell magazine. They exercised together as a family, going on bike rides to the farmer’s market and week-long canoe trips for spring break. …


Whether it’s starting a practice or sticking with it, this will help

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

Meditation takes work, and there are often things that get in the way. These things can interrupt you during your practice, and they can also keep you from starting at all.

Whether you are a Buddhist or not, we all can agree that the Buddha had some excellent advice for meditation, and most of what you hear these days about mindfulness or meditation came from him. One lesser-known lesson was about the things that may negatively impact your practice. He called them the Five Hindrances. …


How Non-Violent Communication helped me have good boundaries

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kate Kalvach on Unsplash

Growing up as the youngest in my family meant learning to go with the flow. I rarely could voice my opinion, and when I did, it wasn’t taken seriously. I wore hand-me-downs and looked up to my brothers. They told me what music I should listen to. I played the games they wanted to play and watched the shows they liked to watch. The things I loved, roller skating, playing with My Little Ponies, dancing — meant being alone. …


How a Simple Journaling Practice Got Me Dancing Again

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash

This is the story of how a journaling practice called “Morning Pages” got me out of a rut and helped me start dancing again. Journaling helped me uncover unconscious beliefs that were holding me back, sparked my creativity, and allowed me to come back home to my body.

It all started when I was invited to participate in a reading group for the book The Artist’s Way. The plan was to work through a chapter a week and meet up to discuss along the way. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

To understand my commitment to awareness I have to start with all the time spent avoiding feeling. Like someone who’d grown up in a dark room not knowing what colors are, that’s how I was about my own feelings. Cut off from the neck down. Understanding feelings in theory, but never fully allowing myself to feel them.

This blindness began long before my addiction took hold, it goes back to my early childhood. I was a sensitive child not allowed to feel. Sensitive people, (which I’m starting to believe is all of us) have it hard in this broken world. Crying, in my house, was seen as a nuisance. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” I would hear, when I was looking for comfort. …


Yes. Really.

Couple sitting outside with newspapers and fall leaves
Couple sitting outside with newspapers and fall leaves
Photo by Dora Reis on Unsplash

There is a popular trend right now going around social media. First, it was Dry January, and now Sober October. The challenge is to give up alcohol for a month. It started in Australia, but it’s picking up steam here in the States. This crazy year may seem like the least likely time to give up our booze but I want to break down for you five reasons why now might actually be the BEST time to take a break from the bottle.

Built-In Accountability

Social media challenges can actually be a great way to try new things. You automatically get the benefit of one of the biggest motivators — a community. Being able to share ups and downs, and talk to people who are in the same boat as you can be incredibly helpful. Those moments when you’re afraid you might crack, you can reach out and someone will have some words of encouragement. This matters A LOT. Whether you are giving up sugar, trying Whole30, doing an exercise routine, social media challenges give you a little boost. …


Diversify your social media feed to reduce your implicit bias

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

The current climate in the U.S. is hot. And I don’t mean summer. I mean that rage is flaring, protests are ramping up, and people want real change. There are many calls to action right now and many ways that white folks can start to educate themselves if they are new to the work of dismantling White Supremecy. In addition to those things, I’d like to offer one simple change that you can make today, that will also help. Diversify your feed.

What is implicit bias?

If something is explicit, it is obvious, stated clearly, and done on purpose. An explicit bias against a group of people would be an overt act of discrimination, such as banks not granting loans to people of color, or a company refusing to pay women as much as men. But implicit bias is subtle. It’s a subconscious belief. By its very nature, an implicit bias is unknown to the person holding it. …


How I started working through my lockdown writer’s block

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

At the beginning of 2020 I was writing, a lot. I was happily publishing away on Medium, getting my curations and claps, and thinking that I had it made. Then, as we all know, the pandemic struck, and life changed dramatically. Initially, I thought “Ok, this might not be so bad, I’ll probably do even MORE writing now that I’m stuck at home and can’t go anywhere.” And that was true, at first.

But, a couple of weeks into the pandemic my writing fell off a cliff. As things became more serious, I was struck with this problem. Either I write about the pandemic, which I definitely didn’t want to do because I’m not in the medical field, or I write about something else - but everything else seemed completely silly. …


Moderation was never going to be the path for me

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

In the early stages of trying to control my drinking, I thought that moderation was going to be the key to happiness. I believed that it should work for everyone. Moderation was the middle way, the middle path. All it took was discipline and self-control. I thought there was no reason why people shouldn’t be able to control themselves when it came to drinking. If they couldn’t moderate, it was because they just didn’t want to.

I was used to seeing alcoholism as a spectrum, where on one end is rock-bottom, the other end is sobriety, and somewhere in the middle is moderation. …

About

Amanda O’Bryan

Meditation teacher. Psychologist. Human mood ring. Follow my writings about recovery on A Commitment to Awareness

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store