If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you come from a developed country in which all your basic needs are met. Despite the absence of any extreme trauma, you feel unfilled at work or at home. This empty feeling, what the French called ennui—a deep, existential boredom—often becomes a substantial mental block in staying motivated to reach your full potential. The human brain, an incredibly plastic and versatile organ, craves novelty. According to a Science Daily article, humans learn best when exposed to novel stimuli. Sticking to a monotonous routine too closely can often deprive your brain of this needed novelty. Here are a few ways to break the routine to achieve that much sought-after breakthrough in your life.
1. Sign up for a new hobby you’d never thought you’d ever try.
Whether it’s dancing lessons or joining an informal sports club, the activity itself isn’t as important as the fact that it is something completely out of your comfort zone. Sure, it may be difficult to try something radically new, but consciously placing yourself in an active environment filled with new people and new experiences will give you an instant kick of novelty, the excitement of which continues even after you’re finished with a session.
2. Play spontaneously.
Next time you feel the full force of existential boredom barreling down on you, observe young children at play. Science has long established that imaginative play is an essential component in children’s healthy psychological development. For adults, spontaneously engaging in simple playful activities like running through a water sprinkler or playing with finger paint enables us to reconnect with our inner child in which even monotonous, familiar environments can become novel and exciting again.
3. For your next vacation, skip the tourist hotspots.
Travelling is a great way to reduce stress and relax, but it is also an important opportunity to place yourself in a radically novel environment. In order to experience this level of novelty, however, makes sure to select a destination that isn’t like a place you’ve visited a million times before. Go for a country or place whose climate and seasons are drastically different, whose cultures are completely alien. Once you’ve arrived, make it a point to try as many different foods and experience as many different aspects of that country’s culture as possible.
4. Small changes to your routine can also go a long way.
Even though travel is a very effective way to take a break from the mundane realities of everyday life, you don’t have to crisscross the globe to gain a renewed sense of perspective and increased motivation. Tiny adjustments, like changing up your route to work or rearranging your furniture can give you a solid dose of that novelty we all need and crave.
Of course, simply changing your routine won’t be the answer to all of life’s problems. But if you’ve tried many different methods of regaining purpose and meaning, and you still feel you’re falling short, adding something to the same old-same old can jolt you out of your feelings of boredome and restart your thinking.
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments below
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