Tired of doing the same things, over and over again? That happens to all of us at one point or another. Sometimes, we just live by default without realizing it, and our lives can fall into a monotonous rut.
Routines create structure. They give our days and weeks a more ordered and calm feeling. When you have better routines in place, you can conserve your mental energy for things that are more important — they make us think less and predict the future.
However, if your routines are actually causing more harm than good, it pays to change it a bit without sacrificing your ultimate life and work goals. Henri de Lubac once said, “Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to waste and destroy.”
A study on Boredom in Everyday Life, estimated that 63 percent of us suffer from boredom at least once over a 10-day period. When you are bored, you feel stuck in routine, same old habits, most things happen on autopilot.
Sometimes gratifying activities and relationships can sometimes lose their attractiveness — it’s a behavioural phenomenon called hedonic adaptation, which serves an evolutionary purpose.
“If our emotional reactions didn’t weaken with time, we couldn’t recognize novel changes that may signal rewards or threats,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology who studies hedonic adaptation.
Many people wait for external factors to change their situations. You don’t always have to take huge leaps to change things.
According to the researchers, finding simple but different ways to interact with a familiar person, place or thing can make everyday experiences feel new again. “Finding new ways to interact with familiar things can disrupt adaptation because it signals the brain to pay more attention to the experience,” says Robert W. Smith, co-author of a study on Unconventional Consumption Methods and Enjoying Things Consumed.
All it takes is some reflection on your current routines and thinking about how you can make it that much better to simply spice things up.
If your habit or pattern has become dull over time, there are dozens of things you can daily to keep your life interesting — start a passion project, take an art class, take a class or seminar you’ve always been curious about, set a new goal in life, or read a book in a genre you don’t usually read.
This week, if you exercise in the morning, start exercising at night, take a long way home and use the extra time to think, try something new on the menu, strike up a conversation with a stranger, commit to weekly acts of kindness, find time to doodle — let your mind wander as you embrace pen and paper, again, figure out what you’re scared of — and do it for 7 days consistently.
You can also switch your morning activities around, or spend at least 20 minutes every day reading or listening to something that is completely unrelated to your career — broaden your mind.
You could also try one new challenge every month! One small step can be enough — doing one little thing a bit differently is all it takes to experience something new. Don’t overwhelm yourself with huge life changes.
If changing the routine is not an option, change the environment. Unless you have to work in the office of your employer, go and work in a coffee shop or a library instead. Or find a friend and work somewhere together.
“Simply observing one’s surroundings may seem boring (and it can be), but if engaged with mindfully, it can become interesting and profound,” says the boredom researcher Tim Lomas, a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London.
If you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, you can easily get bored. Add some adventure to your life. It’s important to experience the enjoyable aspects of your life in different ways.
Previously published on medium
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