Different spiritual traditions, including, but not limited to Buddhism, emphasize that it is important to always keep in mind that one's thoughts and emotions do not constitute the essence of a person.
- When some thought crosses my mind,
- makes me like or dislike something (emotion),
- then these thoughts and emotions are not my true self in that they come and go like they want (similar to breathing, blood circulation and other bodily processes, which most people can't consciously control). The true self is the entity that observes them.
Theory and practice shows that realization 3 often leads to an increase in happiness (e. g. I feel pain, I acknowledge the thought I'd rather prefer to experience pleasure and the emotion of sadness as inevitable by-products of the activity of my brain, which usually eliminates suffering despite presence of pain) and - as a result - higher productivity (less time and energy is wasted on useless thoughts emotions).
Right now, I occasionally do the whole process (observe thoughts, observe emotions they've generated, remember that they aren't my true self), probably when the pain gets too hard.
I want to develop a habit of doing this routine so that I'm automatically doing those 3 steps all the time (as frequently as possible). As a result I expect my stress resistance (ability to do productive work in suboptimal conditions) to dramatically increase.
What routine can I use to develop that habit (apart from the process described below), ideally scientifically proven?
- I need some practical, actionable recipe for developing the desired habit, which is better than the option below. I do not need some theoretical, philosophical stuff.
- If your routine is well-suited for people with tendency towards premature action and ADHD, it's even better.
Standard habit formation process
- Install on your mobile phone an application, which vibrates every 20 minutes.
- Every day in the morning, turn on the application.
- Whenever you feel the vibration, do the three steps (observe thoughts, observe emotions they've generated, remember that they aren't my true self).
- Before you go to sleep, turn off the application.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for at least 40 days.
Update 1 (05.01.2016 12:13 MSK): Below you can find a selection of techniques, which seem to help me observe the mind. I don't guarantee that they will work for anyone else. And I don't guarantee that it really helps me - it just seems to help.
Morning observation ritual
- Write out at least 10 thoughts that are running in your head.
- For each of them do the 3 steps (observe the thought, observe the emotions it generates and remember that you aren't either of them).
Imagine the thoughts on a diagram
It helps to imagine the different thoughts as diagrams with time on the horizontal axis and the intensity of a particular thought on the vertical one.
Some music seems to be more conducive to mind observation than others. I noticed it when listening to the Focus at will music, section Focus Spa.
I'm not affiliated with Focus at will, I'm not getting any remuneration for this and you probably can get the same music in other ways.