Humans are creatures of habit and we adopt bad habits just as easily as good ones. If you're looking for a quick, cheap and easily applied method of improving your mood, you can do so through reflection on your daily routines.
Photo by zizzy0104.
It's easy to fall into a routine, good or bad, and not question the routine and the impact it has on your life. Take something as simple as getting up in the morning. You have to be in the car at 6.30am. You've always told yourself that you need an hour to get ready so you set your alarm for 5.30am. Every day you jump into the car a minute or two after 6.30am, irritated, blood-pressure raised and mumbling about how much you hate the morning. You've gotten up at 5.30am since you started the job, how could anything be different? Mornings just aren't fun. By stepping back from the situation and asking what you could do to make the morning better you may find that something as simple as taking a shower before bed rather than in the morning, getting up 15 minutes earlier, or switching your breakfast routine around so you can make breakfast faster and with less cleanup, is all it takes to make your morning better.
At the personal development blog The Happiness Project they highlight the importance of this kind of self-reflection:
Think about the patterns of your life, about the daily routines that shape your existence. How's your morning? Could you tweak your morning routine, to make it a bit more pleasant? (For example, here are 6 tips for keeping school-day mornings calm and cheery). How about lunch? Your last hour before bedtime? Your Saturday afternoon, your Sunday evening? Your routine when you're feeling blue or lonely?
By identifying these patterns, and acknowledging their power to shape our lives, we're better able to set the patterns in ways that boost happiness. A friend of mine realised that one pattern in her life was an extremely irritating commute. Every day, she had a horrible trip, and every day, she was surprised by how bad it was and how much it affected her mood. When she acknowledged this, she decided to try to change the experience, by listening to audiobooks in the car — an activity she loves. That small change in the pattern of her life made a huge difference in her daily happiness.
Check out the lengthy full article for more information and tips. Have a story of your own to share about how you changed your routines for the better? Let's hear about it in the comments.