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Shake Things Up

by Beth on May 4th, 2012

We need routines in our lives. They help us feel comfortable and safe and turn positive behaviors into habit. Routines promote automated thinking, giving our brains a break by reducing the amount of information we have to actively process.

But too many routines can be bad for our creativity and keep us stuck in a rut. They also prevent us from being present in the moment. Most of us drive to work without even noticing what we pass along the way. We get lost in thought because our brain knows the way.

I have a very orderly personality (anyone in my family would tell you that’s an understatement!), so I’m especially fond of my routines. But I have been trying to shake things up a bit. Moving across the country will definitely shake up of all of my routines, but small things can also do the trick. Something like brushing your teeth with the other hand or taking a different route to work can help wake you up. Or try moving some of the objects in your house to a new location, shopping at a different grocery store, listening to a type of music you don’t usually listen to, using a different machine at the gym, or choosing a new item on the menu at your favorite restaurant.

Breaking out of routines can help you see things you’ve never seen before by opening you up to new experiences. Doing things differently stimulates the growth of brain cells and increases your present moment awareness because your mind can’t zone out like it does when you are performing an automated behavior.

What will you do this week to shake things up in your life? Find small ways to get out of your routine and see how it can give you a fresh perspective and help you to be more fully present.

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