Retraining your brain: We’ve taught ourselves that mindless activities can take the place of hobbies

20180716_202856.jpgIf you’re like me you might be making a big push to spend more time on your hobbies and less time wasting time. I know a lot of people who are doing this, because after all we are in a digital age that runs on wasting time. Instead of going for a hike you’re rewatching a show you’ve seen before on Netflix, or worse, you’re wasting your time scrolling through Netflix for something to watch. We mindlessly scroll and we know it’s a problem, so a lot of us are trying to fix it.

But adding our hobbies back into our lives often feels like a chore. I talked about how going from a mindless activity to a mindful activity often seems like hard work, and I think we can agree just by how hard it is to talk ourselves into doing the things we love.

We love them, it should be easy, but it never is. So we add it to our to do list, we force ourselves to do them. Maybe that’s the only way to break the cycle, to make yourself get up and act. Maybe it’s harder to channel motivation to do it in a more natural way. Maybe it takes some time to build up the excitement you used to have. But if it lasts for more than the first two weeks you have to really look at why these things still feel like chores to you.

Is it the hobbies you picked? Or is it something else. Is it stress? Is there something we’re trying not to think about and the mindless activities prevent it better? Or have you just trained yourself over so many years that that time in bed or on the sofa is needed nightly. I’m guilty of that last one. My body and my mind adapted to my way of life, my lazy bit after a long day. It started to turn off my brain the moment I hit the sofa. It was like once I sit down I was done for the night.

I had to work on sitting down in same place and doing something mindful instead, reading, writing, talking with friends. It’s like when they tell you not to do anything in bed but sleep, that way when you get in bed your body will know it’s time to sleep. I had to teach my body that it wasn’t time to turn into a slug. I had to teach it that that was only one of many things it did during this time. I had to train myself by forcing new habits. I had to train myself to know that the hobbies I love were the reward not TV and Tumblr, that meant I had to stop treating myself to it, or at least drop that mindset. Being mindless wasn’t a reward, and it’s not the only time to rewind and destress. Hobbies are supposed to be rewarding and inspiring. They are supposed to refill our cup. Sleep is supposed to refuel your body. So if you need rest maybe you should getting more hours at night.

It’s a process and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. It’s taking hard work to fall back into my hobbies. I have to force myself to do the things I enjoyed. When we face that I think it’s easy to dismiss it, to say that you must not enjoy it anymore, but I don’t think that’s true. I think its all about habits, and bad habits die hard. Killing them takes time and energy, but it is worth it. So it’s time to attack your bad habits and bring back the good ones. You’ll start enjoying them more and more the farther you get in retraining your brain.

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