At first I hated them. Seeing those red circles or strips of tape telling ME where to stand. Is this really happening, I would ask myself. I thought it would pass quickly. Alright, I’ll stand here. Not a big deal. I’ll stand on the circle and wait to move ahead. How long can this last, a few weeks? Well, 7 months later, here we stand. The social distancing/stand 6 feet apart signs are everywhere and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So what to do, what to do? I understand the fact that there are two types of control; things that I can control; things I cannot control. I focus on the things I can control. It’s a much shorter list. Can I control the social distancing requirements, how long I have to wait in line or how long the waves of this pandemic will last. No, no, and no. Can I control my thought process while I’m standing on the sign, associate something good rather than frustrating every time I see one, and put my time waiting to good use? Yes, yes and yes.
Charles Duhigg, best selling author of The Power of Habit teaches us about something he calls “The Habit Loop.”
“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP”
He says all habits go through this process. My challenge to you when you have to wait in a queue on a social distancing sign or circle is to create a new habit. Right now, 99.9% of us whip out our pesky phones while we wait. May I suggest a new habit? Perhaps you could practice working on your posture (shoulders down and back, chest out, stomach in, butt tight…… as only a chiropractor can suggest!) Maybe you could make a mental list of everything you are grateful for. Perhaps you could look around and send out silent prayers to others. Me, I love acronyms. It is how I studied in engineering school and chiropractic school. I created hundreds of acronyms in school to memorize vast quantities of material. So I created one for me while I stand on those circles. I am going to test myself going forward to see if I can remember the words and their meaning for each letter.
S – Silence, fewer words: “Listen to the silence, it has so much to say.” Rumi
O – Ohm, practice meditation: “The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting your thoughts control you.”
C – Create, “Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” — Edward de Bono
I – Invest, “Show me where you invest your time and your money, and I’ll show you the man.”
A – Active EVERY day, Stay active, move that body, again and again and again (and fuel it well to keep it moving). There’s a reason you don’t put diesel if your tank in your car takes unleaded. Simple enough logic for your body. Remember one per lifetime.
L – LOVE, as most beautifully described by Saint Paul, Love IS Kind, Patient, Forgiving, Humble, Endures, not rude, not boastful, not conceited, does not insist on its own way, believes the best in every person, is hopeful, AND NEVER ENDS.
In this particular habit loop, the cue is seeing the circle. The routine is what you decide to do while standing on the circle. And the reward, is HAVING DONE IT. At the end of the day, there’s lots of frustration and stress and things out of our control with Covid-19. I’ll focus on what I can control….. my healthy lifestyle, service to others, presence on mind, and what I do on those little red circles. Peace out!