27 Jan The Science of Novelty
Habits are great.
Routine is fantastic.
Making healthy behaviours automatic can massively increase your chances of enjoying happiness and wellbeing.
But at the same time, we need to be wary of boredom, or getting stuck in ruts; which is why I’m recommending this article about novelty …
via Psychology Today by Alane Daugherty
- For many people, self-care and mental health may be declining with the new COVID surge and a disappointing new year.
- Dopamine is known as a feel-good neurotransmitter and when balanced, contributes to a positive mood, emotions, motivation and outlook.
- The field of psychophysiology can provide a blueprint for change via intentional dopamine activation through positive novelty.
Reported rates of anxiety and depression have quadrupled in the last two years. To make matters worse, as we are deep in the COVID surge, many are abandoning the very self-care habits that stabilize their mental and emotional health. As a result, new year’s resolutions aimed to get you back on track, the ones that seemed so important this year, are possibly falling by the wayside. So, as we head into this complex new year, a novel approach to those habits, and an understanding of dopamine’s role within it, are perhaps the first steps to recovery.
Reduced self-care, anxiety, and depression go hand in hand
The New Year is, for many, a symbol of hope, growth, and new beginnings. As such, you may have set resolutions for yourself and intended on using this time as a period of positive transformation, a time to establish behaviors that will help you thrive. Unfortunately, if your New Year’s resolve is fading amid another wave of COVID, the hopes of improving your mental health during these difficult times may be waning as well. Anxiety and depression may be ever-present, and the self-care habits that keep you emotionally stable and resilient are probably the habits that have suffered most through the pandemic.
Although these behaviors may seem superficial given the current challenges, they are not. If a behavior carries emotional significance for you, it can’t help but impact your mental health when it is out of balance. So, too, with all the challenges of the past few years and disruptions to your regular routines, habits that you took for granted in your pre-pandemic life may require overt intentionality to maintain through the pandemic. A strong foundation in the self-care behaviors that matter most to you is necessary for emotional resilience and a sense of thriving, especially during challenging times.
Given all the challenges of the last two years, nurturing that thriving version of yourself all at once seems psychologically more important yet extra arduous given the circumstances. How do you find the motivation and positive outlook necessary to take care of yourself when you feel discouraged, and your resolve is waning?
… keep reading the full & original article HERE