Do you get rattled when you can’t do your routines?
I recently had a friend stay with me for four weeks and boy, did my routines get rattled! As uncomfortable as that may feel, research shows that when we do rattle our routines or shake things up, we’re actually improving our brain function or neuroplasticity as they call it.
I’m a creature of habit and have a whole set of rituals that serve me throughout my day. I call them rituals rather than routines because they’re conscious intentional acts rather than mindless habits. For example, before I get out of bed in the morning, I meditate and do 10 stretches. Then I get up and stand in tree pose for one minute on each leg.
Exercise Your Brain
At the same time, if you switch up one of your routines, you may discover a completely new experience you enjoy.
We often think of our physical well-being as diet and exercise. Although this is clearly vital to our overall health and functioning, what’s often overlooked is our need to exercise and take care of our brains. Just like any other part of our body, our brains are organs that need a daily dose of activity in order to function, keep us healthy, and work for us into our old age.
Working on auto-pilot and living out the same daily routines essentially means that our brain is running along the same neural pathways it’s learned to work over time. We’re not expanding or working our brains because our routines require no thought or conscious processing.
Choosing to do things that break your routine and therefore challenge your brain, doesn’t require any specific psychology training, expensive treatments or memberships. You can start today and just reflect on the routines you currently hold.
When you look at these routines and patterns, can you think of ways you can step out of them, make tweaks and start to do things a bit differently? Can you take a different route on your walk? Can you change the order you read the news?
Even these simple changes will keep your brain on its toes. Go out there and break your routines a little every day! Try new things, challenge yourself, and embrace new adventures. You won’t be disappointed by the results.
And if you still need that little extra nudge, take a moment to ponder the words of Paulo Coelho … If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.