How to Not Grow Discontent with the Mundane in Your Life
By Thao Nguyen
Sometimes routine can be good. It helps you get things done in an organized manner, allows you to be prepared for things, and you can start your day knowing almost exactly what to expect. The problem with getting too comfortable with a routine is that your life can quickly become mundane.
For example, almost every weekday looks exactly the same for me, almost down to the minute. It’s the same work-gym-Netflix-Polarity schedule Monday through Friday. At first, I thrived on this. I loved having things planned out ahead of time and knowing what each day held for me. But after a couple months of this, I became really dissatisfied with my life.
Everything felt mediocre, dull, and pointless. I really couldn’t believe that this was “adulting.” As a kid, I thought my days would be filled with a fulfilling job and my nights with exciting adventures. Instead, I found myself dragging myself out of bed, staring listlessly at my screen both at work and at home, and forlornly looking at all the cool things my colleagues were doing through their social media accounts. The FOMO was real.
I got into the vicious cycle of wanting to do something new without actually doing anything to change up my schedule. I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t find the drive or energy to do it. So I decided to start small and try changing the way I looked at things first. Perception is everything, and I figured if I could start enjoying my life as it was, that would give me the motivation to push out of my uncomfortably numb comfort zone.
Change how you complain. Every morning, change one of your complaints into a message of gratitude. For example, If you find yourself thinking “I hate my job,” instead think “I am so blessed that I have a job that I can complain about.” It’s a small twist, but it makes a huge difference. Changing the way you complain about something helps you remember that there are a lot of things to be thankful for. They may not all be wonderful, but they are still things that you should appreciate from time to time. You will recognize that while things may not be ideal in your life, they can still be acknowledge in a positive light. Starting your day off with this will put you in the right mindset, and will keep you from getting too negative throughout the day.
Smile through the pain. I’m a firm believer in fake it till you make it, and smiling is a great way to start. Science has shown that smiling can actually lead to greater levels of happiness. As much as I love my RBF, and have plenty of reasons to wear one, smiling more really has put me in a better mood. I'm fully aware that pretending to be okay when things really aren't can be exhausting and emotionally draining. But a little can go a long way. You don't have to spend the whole day looking like the Joker. But every now and then, a small smile can really improve your mood.
- Don’t wallow in self pity. If you find yourself sitting in silence wondering why your life is so mundane, or you compare your life to others, it’ll be really hard to get our of your rut. Instead, fill your mind with other thoughts. Immerse yourself in your work. Think about other people. Get pumped up for your workout! Don’t let your mind focus on how boring your life is. It'll just spiral and find more and more to be negative and upset about. Things may seem droll, but if you look around and look at things in a new light, you'll see how amazing normal things can be. Wallowing in self pity is an ugly habit on anyone, and it certainly won’t change your position. So choose to build your life up instead.