Curiosity lets us tap into our natural capacity for wonder and interest, putting us right in that sweet spot of openness and engagement. From this state of mind, we’re more empowered to help ourselves break old habits and build new ones.
A Practice to Cultivate a Curious Mind
1. First, find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be distracted. You can be sitting, lying down, or even standing up.
2. Recall your most recent run-in with a habitual pattern. See if you can remember the scene and focus in on the habitual behavior itself. What did you feel when you were about to act it out? What did that urge to go ahead and “do it” feel like?
3. Now check in with your body. What sensation can you feel most strongly right now? Pick only one from this list, the one you feel most strongly:
- Shallow breath
- Pit in stomach
Is it more on the right side or the left? In the front, middle, or back of your body? Where do you feel it most strongly?
4. Now, let out the sound “hmmm” like when you’re curious about something—is that hmm on the right side or the left? In the middle, front, or back of your body? Don’t worry about what area you picked. They are all perfect. Was there anything you noticed about being curious about whatever part of your body you felt the sensation in? Did being a little curious help with getting closer to this sensation?
5. See if you can get curious and notice what else is there. Are there other sensations? What happens when you get curious about them? Do they change? Follow them over the next thirty seconds, not trying to do anything to or about them, but simply observing them. Do they change at all when you observe them with an attitude of curiosity? Whenever an urge to repeat a habitual behavior comes up—or even while you’re in the middle of the behavior—see if you can practice dropping into curiosity.