Every day has felt the same.
I wake up every morning at the same time, make my coffee, sit down to write, go to the gym, get ready for the day, work more, make dinner, and go to bed. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it felt a whole lot like the 1993 comedy ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray,
“Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a cynical TV weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again when he goes on location to the small town of Punxsutawney to film a report about their annual Groundhog Day. His predicament drives him to distraction until he sees a way of turning the situation to his advantage.”
Monotony and boredom have the power to make us deeply uncomfortable, sad, and even anxious. Due to everything that has happened over the last year and a half, I’ve felt like we’ve all entered our own version of Groundhog Day.
In a study called ‘Self-inflicted pain out of boredom,’ participants administered electrical shock to themselves when they were feeling sad, bored, or neutral.
The results showed that the participants in the boredom condition self-administered more shocks and with higher intensity, compared to both the neutral and sad condition.
When Phil first realized Groundhog Day was never-ending, he started drinking heavily, overeating, and crashing cars. Eventually, he got bored of injecting hedonism into his everyday life, but he still didn’t understand how to get himself out of the Groundhog Day loop.
He ended up doing the only thing he could do. Phil surrendered and started acting purposely. He accepted how his current situation was beyond his control, and to act purposely; he chose to make the most out of his reality, despite the frustrations.
In the end, his Groundhog Day ended when he started helping others, learning, and finding purpose and meaning in the everyday sameness. He moved from bored to optimal.
It’s definitely possible to find meaning and stimulation when your days are on repeat; here are a few things I’ve been doing over the last few months.
Do the same things differently.
It’s easy to get complacent. Many people are okay with it, but after so long of being stuck in what feels like the exact same day on repeat, I’ve realized one simple way to add some novelty is to play with my everyday routine.
If you have a successful morning routine you follow religiously, don’t be afraid to do something different every now and then. I’m faithful when it comes to my morning rituals, but going out of your comfort zone results in a different kind of satisfaction.
How to do this:
If you’re someone who takes walks regularly, take a different route. If you only listen to one particular motivational speaker, listen to someone who preaches something different. Seek knowledge from both sides of the argument. If you only read fiction, opt for non-fiction.
Even though it’s a small difference, this will quench your thirst for change while still maintaining your positive habits. And here’s the thing, don’t be afraid of change.
Change is what opens the door for more opportunities; change is what gives you insight into what you could have or what you do or don’t like.
Take digital breaks.
Recent reports from Nielsen suggested that media consumption increased 60% due to COVID-19.
Nowadays, everyone is on social media, and everyone is on tik-tok, and how many kids actually read books nowadays? 2? Why is this? It’s because of dopamine.
Our bodies have a biological system called Homeostasis. Our bodies like to keep an internal physical and chemical balance, and whenever an imbalance occurs, our bodies adapt to it.
So when your brain gets used to having high dopamine levels, those levels become your new normal, which forces you to create a dopamine tolerance, which makes doing day-to-day life things impossible.
In an article written in Healthline,
Certain drugs may interact with dopamine in a way that becomes habit-forming. Nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs with addictive qualities activate the dopamine cycle. These substances can cause a quicker, far more intense dopamine rush than you’d get from those double chocolate chip cookies. It’s such a powerful rush that you’re left wanting more — and soon.
As a habit forms, the brain responds by toning down the dopamine. Now you need more of the substance to get to that same pleasure level. Overactivation also affects dopamine receptors in a way that makes you lose interest in other things. That can make you act more compulsively. You’re less and less able to resist using these substances.
This can apply to essentially any type of addiction — video games, pornography, social media, etc. Once your dopamine tolerance gets high, you’re unable to do the things that don’t provide you with the same kind of rush.
How to do this:
Take 1 full day off socials, and repeat this process weekly for a month. Then try taking an entire week off per month.
See how much more time you get back from this, and also, appreciate how differently you feel when you’re actively taking the time off.
It’s going to feel incredibly challenging at first, but unplugging will give you the ability to fully relax and enjoy normal day-to-day things like reading, taking walks, or whatever else you used to find pleasure in.
Invest time into something you’re genuinely passionate about.
Accomplishments stimulate us.
Learning something entirely new, for example, a new language or learning a new element of your favorite hobby, can help increase your enthusiasm for life.
Most people quit learning after high school or college; they snag their degrees and go work at a corporate company doing the same exact thing for 20+ years. They give up their hobbies and their passions. No wonder people feel bored and frustrated.
In the last few months, I’ve started investing more and more time into my YouTube channel. It’s been a fun way to motivate myself to do something different because let's face it, nobody wants to watch the same thing.
How to do this:
Create goals and aspirations for yourself outside of your 9–5. So that when your workday does come to an end, you have something exciting to look forward to.
Find something that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you want to invest your time into it.
I signed up for Skillshare and started diving into different aspects of writing, and as I scrolled through the other courses, I found my heart racing. I was getting excited about the idea of learning something new. I’ve also got my channel that keeps me busy.
Find what keeps you busy and engaged.
Understand what you do and don’t have control over. I’m learning I’ll never know what the future brings, especially right now. But, I have full control of my life, my work, and what I do on a daily basis.
If you feel like your days have been on repeat lately, try the following:
- Don’t be afraid to switch things up. Embracing change is what life is all about.
- Take digital breaks. You’re not living your life if you’re constantly glued to your iPhone screen. Envelop yourself in the small pleasures of life, and if you feel like that doesn’t even sound exciting, then do a dopamine detox.
- Invest time into something you’re genuinely interested in. You know how you’ve always wanted to learn French? Why aren’t you doing that right now? What are you waiting for?
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