These past few days and months have been monotonous. At times, we wake up to realize, what day is it and what’s the time? Everyday, we wake up, bath, eat, get ready, commute for 20-40 minutes, go to work, work, finish work, spend time with your dog or cat, kids, cook, help your kids with work, maybe watch TV/read a book, go to bed, wake up again and the cycle continues. It all just seems like a race, a maze, an endless cycle of monotony, a disengaged life. Surely, there is more, what about waking up tomorrow, hearing the birds chirping, having a devotional time, exercising, eating breakfast without rushing, driving peacefully to work, maybe been stopping to pick your favourite coffee from Starbucks, going to work a few minutes early, working productively and making time to spend with people and build working relationships, finish work, drive but maybe listen to something exciting on your way home like perhaps an audio book or audio teaching. Maybe then when you go home, you won’t have a constant level of exhaustion but appreciate time well spent with pets, kids, cooking-maybe being creative and learning to cook something different or taking up a side job or hobby. That would be my ideal day but what about you?
The question I have asked myself is why I am not achieving this? How can I achieve this? What are the benefits of achieving this and how do I kill the monotony of life that makes me feel robotic, lifeless and like a walking zombie. As I reflected on these questions, I realised I am not achieving this because I am comfortable, I’m not actually challenging myself to change this mindset and I am truly exhausted. I could probably achieve this by taking supplements to get added energy, exercise to increase endorphins, or just become more self-aware, rewire my brain through neuroplasticity techniques, actively think differently about my day and choose in the ordinary day, to see the exciting and different things that have happened. Maybe a taxi driver gave you way, maybe someone complimented you or you comforted someone at work, maybe you just had a productive day, you noticed that sunflowers are blooming along the highway on your normal route to work and it made you smile for a minute, you noticed how incredible that sunrise looks through the clouds and you begin to see that your days aren’t as robotic as you think they are, you just haven’t been aware of the little things.
So how do you kill monotony? You can kill it through neuroplasticity because of course this is a psychology blog post. What is neuroplasticity? According to (Doidge, 2007) neuro is for “neuron,” the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for “changeable, malleable, modifiable.” This means that our brains are modifiable, and we can change it. The brain can rewire itself based on life experiences and we can create new neural pathways. I believe that through neuroplasticity techniques, we can kill monotony and live more fulfilled lives appreciating everyday as unique and enjoyable.
Some of the ways we can kill monotony is by:
- Doing physical routine tasks differently. For example, according to (Cavazos, 2017) changing the constant use of your right hand to your left hand at times can build and strengthen neural pathways. This can be applied to various activities such as brushing your hair or teeth, holding a cup, or dialling a telephone number.
- Create new experiences to create new neural pathways by changing your surroundings. For example, change your driving route. Look for different ways to get to work and familiarise yourself within a new environment. When I tried this once, I realized Starbucks was 5-10 minutes away from my office.
- Stop, think, reflect on things you have not thought about before, analyse your surroundings, analyse the things that you are doing and discover whether it is worth your time. For example, instead of pressuring yourself to read before work like I do, you could still plan to read after work or once a week depending on your schedule. Not all personal tasks need to be done out of duty. Thinking differently can expand neural pathways.
- Journal to aid positive thinking. Some exercises include jotting down three things you’re grateful for, write a positive message to someone or write down the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours. This also activates your neurons.
- Exercise helps increase blood flow to the brain especially when you are feeling tired. I have tried this, and it works, I somehow get added energy and feel revitalised to get more work done after work from doing a quick 5-minute exercise.
- Learning new things such as learning a new skill. This is extremely important to me and I try to change it up every month to get rid of monotony, I have set goals to learn to cook something new every month, to learn different aspects of psychology and apply it to my own personal and work life. This month, I want to learn how to grieve well and learn more about leadership, so I am making time to listen to these audio teachings.
- Getting to know yourself is a big part of helping with monotony. You need to know what is monotonous for your life? And how can you change it? You need to start a process of discovering what do you like? What do you enjoy doing? What can get you out of a rut? What engages you in life? What can you actively try to do in your life to end the cycle of monotony?
Like, Share and comment on this post if you also feel like you are stuck in a monotony? What are some of the ways you can change this for your life? Do you find using these neuroplasticity techniques helpful and will try them?
15 Amazing examples of Neuroplasticity in Action . (2018, September 19). Retrieved from http://lawsagna.typepad.com/lawsagna/2010/03/brain-awareness-week-15-amazing-examples-of-neuroplasticity-in-action-.html
Cavazos, M. (2017, August 14). Brain Plasticity Exercises. Retrieved from livestrong.com.
Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself .
Neuroplasticity to be smarter and happier. (2018, September 19). Retrieved from http://reset.me/story/using-neuroplasticity-to-be-smarter-and-happier/
Nurturing neuroplasticity in your life. (2018, September 19). Retrieved from http://www.goodtherapy.org: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/change-is-a-choice-nurturing-neuroplasticity-in-your-life-0930154