Interrupting Habits of Thought

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ADHD & Marriage - Weekly Marriage Tip - June 23, 2011

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“The fear habit, the anger habit, the self-pity habit – all are strengthened and empowered when we continue to buy into them. The most compassionate things we can do is to interrupt these habits.”

  • Pema Chodron

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Interrupting Habits of Thought

American Buddhist nun Chodron argues that “habitual momentum” keeps us stuck responding in thought-less ways to our feelings and the world around us. She proposes a process by which you acknowledge “churned up” feelings then overtly interrupt them to move away from them, as it is in our best interests to do so.


How about you? Do you have specific “patterns” of negative responses in your relationship – responses you repeat over and over again? If so, then Chodron suggests doing “anything that doesn’t reinforce the crippling habits.” That might even be singing, dancing, or running around the block. (I would take it one step further – don’t just interrupt the response patterns, replace them with something more productive – she has a version of this she calls “inclining our minds to joy”.) There is little doubt that if you interrupt those habits over and over again, pretty soon you may find they are no longer habits – and you are the winner since you are no longer a “slave” to negativity.

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
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Melissa Orlov