At this point, our self-protective defenses start to hurt rather than help us.
May The High Cost of Calm The pursuit of calm can itself become a major stressor, especially if you've already tried the standard prescriptions. This is because whenever we attempt to use anything—be it a substance or a rigid pattern of behavior—to numb a negative emotion, we often inadvertently also shut out our more profound, positive ones. We can explore in our own city, be freer in our relationships, or be more open to variation in our morning routine. Essential Re. Posted October 28, Reviewed by Lybi Ma.
It can help you stay organized, be productive, or even, according to some researchersfind meaning.
For many of us, turning to technology—our phones or streaming TV—can be addictively numbing. Back Today.
It may be helpful to make a list of activities we engage in that leave us feeling lifeless. We can do what Dr. Daniel Siegel calls sifting through our experience, considering any sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts that arise. As children, we built up defenses to protect ourselves from the ways we were hurt. But there is a path through this conundrum. Online: PsychAliveFacebookTwitter. However, it may also be closing us off to our sense of awe, curiosity, or excitement.
However, not all routines are created equal, and failing to examine or alter our habits can have a limiting or deadening effect on our lives. View Help Index.
How to get out of your routine and follow your dream
If we often feel a need to control where we pick up dinner or where we go out on a date night, letting go and seeing what happens can completely shift our experience. Yet, seeking out and actively choosing novelty helps us feel more alive, engaged, and attuned to ourselves and others. Back Psychology Today. Back Magazine. Moving through a series of them can set us on autopilot throughout our day, which can lead us to lose touch with ourselves and our immediate experience—be it sensory or emotional.
About the Author. A common side effect of our routinized attempts to tune out is boredom.
Get out of the routine and be adventurous
Read Next. This may mean doing something as simple as spontaneously hugging our partner rather than hurrying past them or doing something silly with our kid rather than sending them off to clean their room. Back Get Help. A big reason for this is that habitual behavior, by nature, can cut us off from feeling.
For example, if we feel pressure to be the quiet, agreeable one, we can try speaking up and suggesting more ideas. As we do this, we may feel anxious, but over time, we will slowly reconnect with who we are. The truth: No day or moment will be the same as any other.
How you can switch up your daily routine to avoid getting stuck in a rut
The first step is to ask ourselves, are we really experiencing our lives or are we just going through the motions? These patterns are built on old adaptations we made to feel safe in our early environment. The trouble is, as our worlds and lives change, and we become independent adults who are no longer victims of our circumstances, we remain stuck in our ways. We can start by mixing up the order of things, trying a new restaurant, or taking a different route to work. Lisa Firestone, Ph. The pursuit of calm can itself become a major stressor, especially if you've already tried the standard prescriptions.
We may explore what it would mean to break out of a fixed identity or a role we impose upon ourselves. We will start to know more deeply what we enjoy, what matters to us, and quite simply, what makes us come alive. We may have needed to feel self-sufficient, pseudo-independent, and organized to exist in a household that felt chaotic and unstable to us.
Do I Need Help? A particular routine may make us feel more secure or unchallenged, muting some of our fears around uncertainty. Lisa Firestone Ph. Compassion Matters.
Family Life Child Development Parenting. Back Find a Therapist. Instead of how will we tackle this day by new experiences and uncertainty.
Each day, we can make it a point to celebrate our sense of choice. Certain studies have associated family routines with parenting competence and marital satisfaction. We can start to look at patterns in our behavior that have become rote or even rigid ways of thinking that are bringing down our energy and cutting us off from a feeling of liveliness. It may mean picking up a new hobby or putting down our phone. If we have trouble identifying these behaviors in ourselves, a good rule of thumb is that we can often tell how compulsive the action is by how anxious we feel when we vary from it.
Why you should break the routine, sometimes
Similarly, the list of items we pressure ourselves to include in our evening routine may be taking up time we could use to connect with loved ones. And while there is a sense of freedom and lack of obligation, there is also a complete shift to our routine. There are tangible ways to strike a balance between making our daily life feel calm and stable and opening ourselves up to new and energizing experiences. Small as they may seem, making these kinds of changes can make us anxious. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness.
However, we can reconnect with this feeling by being willing to explore. For example, scrolling through our phone on our morning train commute can seem pretty innocuous, but we may be missing out on sights, sounds, or even smells that would enliven us in some way, inspire a specific feeling, or spark our imagination. Think about how you feel on a day of vacation versus how you feel in the middle of a typical day at home.
As we experiment with this exercise, we can start to think bigger. To protect ourselves from anxiety and pain, we subconsciously deed a set of structured behaviors to help us navigate the world.