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What to Do When You’re Bored With Your Routines
March 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Juli Fraga.

Boredom isn’t a character flaw. It’s a state brought on by a behavioral phenomenon called hedonic adaptation: the tendency for us to get used to things over time. This explains why initially gratifying activities and relationships can sometimes lose their luster. “Humans are remarkably good at growing accustomed to the positive and negative changes in their lives,” Sometimes this is a good thing, like when “it comes to adversities like losing a loved one, divorce or downsizing,” .....“We adjust fairly well, but this same flexibility can be detrimental to how we respond to positive life events.”....Think about the last time you got a raise, bought a new car, moved to a new city or fell in love. At first these experiences bring about an immense sense of joy, but over time they all just become part of the routine. We adjust our expectations and move on, ready for the next thing that will excite us again — this is called the hedonic treadmill. It’s why your favorite songs, TV shows and restaurants can start to feel dull after a while.......hedonic adaptation serves an evolutionary purpose.....“If our emotional reactions didn’t weaken with time, we couldn’t recognize novel changes that may signal rewards or threats,” we’d overlook cues needed to make important, daily decisions about our safety, relationships and careers.....understanding the connection between hedonic adaptation and boredom can help us maneuver around this “stuck” feeling. Psychologists have found that adaptation is more common when interactions with situations, people and events remain unchanged......

(1) Eat lunch with chopsticks (metaphorically speaking, that is):
eating food in unconventional ways can make eating and drinking feel more novel....The takeaway: Approaching tasks in imaginative ways could prevent boredom from sabotaging your (metaphorical) lunch hour.
(2) Work somewhere fresh:
Spending too much time in the same environment, as we all can, can cause a boredom buildup. If you work from home, mix things up by working in a new place, like a coffee shop or a library; if you work from an office, try changing up the layout of your desk or work area.......Changes don’t need to be large to have an impact. Simply accessorizing your desk with fresh flowers or approaching a work project in a novel way can make a difference....
(3) Entertain at home:
Not only is boredom a buzzkill, but it can be toxic to our partnerships. “Boredom is a common relationship issue that can lead to maladaptive coping skills,” .......While apathy can cause marital discontent, it can be tricky to recognize because relationships that are O.K. aren’t necessarily engaging, “Mixing up our social worlds can strengthen friendships and romantic partnerships because evolving relationships keep things interesting.” Try going out on a limb by doing something creative, like organizing a group cooking party, a themed dinner or an old-fashioned tea party.
(4) Pose a question:
Instead of asking well-worn questions like, “How was your day?” or “Did you have a good weekend?” get curious about a co-worker, friend or partner by asking something personal. Two standbys to try: “What are you looking forward to today?” or “Is there anything I can help you with this week?” If you really want to grab someone’s attention, try something quirkier like, “What’s one song that describes your mood today?” Interpersonal curiosity reminds those in our social circles that we’re interested in who they are. Not only that, but discovering new information about friends and co-workers can revitalize conversations and bolster intimacy.
(5) Mix up your commute:
Monotonous tasks like commuting to and from work can end one’s day on a stale note.If you drive, take a different route home or listen to a new podcast. If you walk or use public transportation, greet a stranger or put away your Smartphone and do some old-fashioned people watching.

Whatever you do to quell boredom, keep things interesting by altering your behavior often. Variety can not only interrupt hedonic adaptation; it might just be the spice of happiness.
adaptability  boredom  commuting  co-workers  creative_renewal  curiosity  habits  happiness  howto  novel  psychologists  questions  relationships  routines  signals  variety 
april 2019 by jerryking
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