Have you ever noticed how many people drive red cars? I’ll bet if you start driving a red car you will.
Start running or cycling, or skating and you’ll suddenly see more ads for the sport of your choice than you would have thought possible.
Have a relationship end and suddenly there are couples everywhere
On a diet? Ads for food are “suddenly” inescapable!
Today, as I sit here sidelined from running by an inguinal hernia in need of surgical repair, I see runners everywhere.
Of course, as a health and wellness coach (and former fitness trainer) look anywhere in my home and you’ll see workout equipment, running shoes, running paraphernalia of all kinds…reminders of what I can’t do right now.
Yup, sometimes it does seem that awareness is a pain in the butt.
But the reality of it is that we’re confusing awareness with hypersensitivity. And like it or not, this is the way our brains function.
The red car example is the result of our being preoccupied with our car and subconsciously thinking about it so seeing more red cars is just a response to what is in essence a subconscious search for red cars. That can be kind of fun actually.
The couples example, same process, lots less fun.
The food example is a bit more complex though, because it involves how the our brains are wired. The very thought of having the desired food is sufficient to light up the pleasure center in the brain, and in fact, can be even more of a draw than actually consuming the food!
And so, you say, damn, how in the world am I supposed to deal with that? This hyper-awareness sounds incredibly powerful!
You’re right…to a point…but here is where awareness truly is an ally. Knowing how the brain works we can stay aware of the mechanism itself and make a conscious decision to eat sparingly or abstain as the case may be.
It’s a different aspect of awareness but a crucial one. Being aware of our surroundings, our feelings, our concerns, our desires…in short, being aware of ourselves in any given moment is incredibly powerful and provides benefits across all aspects of our lives.
So I am aware today, in this moment, that while I am side-lined I’m not down and out. I may not be able to run, but I can walk. I may not be able to push hard but I can push. I may not have the physical abilities that usually enjoy but I am grateful for all that I do have.
And you know, at least for me, exercising my gratitude muscles creates an awareness of life that is most satisfying!
P.S. if you’d like to learn more about desire/craving/addiction, I strongly recommend “Craving – Why We Can’t Seem To Get Enough” by Dr. Omar Manejwala (Hazelden Press, 2013)