Four steps to healthy quitting

The psychologist and mindfulness instructor Martín Reynoso reflects on the importance of some resignations to feel better.

This column began with a talk I had with my dear friend Agustina D´andraia (journalist, influencer and former columnist for Para Ti) about how to prevent your belly from growing blatantly. Yes, as you hear him, he said a great phrase: “The belly is usually the great tell-tale of your lifestyle”. By this he meant that if we do not exercise, drink a lot of alcohol and eat without taking care of ourselves, surely staying in good condition will be difficult. Deep down, what he was also telling me is that you have to learn to renounce gluttony and pleasure and choose to make an effort with physical activity to balance ourselves.

It is that during the pandemic and as a result of the emotional changes I believe that we have all experienced this not being able to cope well with some limits. The resignation has to do with it, with learning to deal with what it costs us but we know it is necessary to let go.

It is said that when Gautama Buddha was about to become enlightened he had to go through the most difficult test at the hands of Mara (who represents desire, greed and pleasure).

In my book “Mindfulness, Scientific Meditation” I mention that story through Sherab Chodzin Kohn, who describes it thus in his book “The Life of Buddha”: “Gautama took an oath and resolved not to move from the site until he had attained enlightenment, even if it cost him his life. When he sat firmly in the cross-legged meditation posture, Mara also realized that the crucial moment had come and trembled (…) Once willing to stay and transform his heart, the Buddha he was not tempted or defeated. The whole earth shook, its thunder drowning out the screams of Mara’s acolytes. In a moment all his hosts fled. And Mara himself, defeated, crept away. “

The new Christian Gospel describes Jesus Christ going through a similar test in the temptations of the devil. And the strength of renunciation also appears in him. What is the meaning of this action for spiritual growth, for the nourishment of our deepest Being? Why is resignation so important?

Resignation is a choice. It is a decision-making in the face of a range of possibilities that are presented to us. Why do we call her resignation from this choice? Well, because we put aside other possibility / s that would give us satisfaction, pleasure. Resignation is, after all, reject ego satisfaction, the greed that invades the mind but also manifests itself in the body. In my case, the most hedonistic and simple option would be to eat with gluttony and without care even though my body does not need it and knowing that this will impact my physical and mental well-being (not just my belly).

Of course, this is not easy, and more so in these times, subjected to so much stress and uncertainty. It is not about being hard on ourselves but rather reflecting beyond the immediate: I need this? Is it suitable for my body, my mind and my heart? Even the words that I hear and use daily: are they words that nurture, that feed others, or are they more of a spiritual embarrassment?

In hundreds of stories great leaders give up something, give up a comfort or the state in search of new horizons. Could it be that resignation also moves us from the comfort of the place where we are?

In Mindfulness practice, the sequence for putting healthy bits of renunciation into practice in our lives is as follows:

1- Recognize what I am attached to: People, situations, comfort, food, among other things?

2- Observe its impact on us: Do I feel that greed invades my mind and disturbs my reasoning? How do I think when I am ravenously drawn to a specific stimulus? Can I detect it in the body? Can I slightly distance myself from that stimulus?

3- Start working with the renunciation of what I feel is most manageable and draw up a plan how to do it. That plan should consider an important motivator and also a possible behavioral sequence.

4- Appreciate every little step you take. If there is a friend or close person to whom you can report your progress, even better! It is always positive to communicate it, it gives more emphasis to your motivation.

Clearly, giving up little selfish pleasures involves an attentive mind, a mind with an intention deeply rooted in the heart: that of being devoid of ephemeral desire, which only produces dissatisfaction.

*Martin Reynoso is a psychologist, director of Train Your Brain Argentina and author of “Mindfulness, scientific meditation”.

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