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Change for Your Mental Health

Routine is absolutely essential when taking care of our mental health. But breaking out of our
comfort zone is equally as important. After all, a routine is there to maximize our potential - not
smother it!

Structuring our daily lives allows us to take control of the things we have power over. We can
hesitate less and get down to business whether that means cleaning the house, doing our work,
cooking dinner, or even settling down for bedtime. Our routines and habits help us stay reliable
in our responsibilities. Many say they make us more productive - and they do! - but productivity
is not so simple. Merely adhering to a set schedule is not the only ingredient for a productive
life.

Of course we need some comfort and habit. For certain things like hygiene and workflow, this
structure allows us to stay regular with chores (take out the trash, pay rent, do the dishes) and
properly take care of ourselves (brush our teeth, shower, eat regular meals).

But when it comes to growth and overcoming psychological setbacks, the opposite may ring
true. Consider these activities: making new friends, learning a new computer program, exploring
a new style of movies or music.

The benefits of change and newness
It may seem counterintuitive, but routine and change should be balanced hand-in-hand in order
to truly benefit our mental health and keep us on track towards happiness and productivity. This
is because we can only improve and learn by trying new things. And when we try new things, it
takes a little while to figure out what works.

This dynamic comes from what holds most of us back: fear and unfamiliarity. People are afraid
to fail because failing feels bad. But it is important to accept that failure is a part of success -
most successful people only get to their finish line after countless disappointments. Unfamiliarity,
on the other hand, doesn’t concern success or failure. Rather, it can simply feel uncomfortable
and alien to us when things break the norm. But if we stop to think, everything we enjoy in our
lives was once foreign to us!

Lessons from therapy
Patients paralyzed by anxiety are encouraged to try exposing themselves to the things they fear
in a reasonable way over time. By doing this they get used to the troubling stimuli they
previously avoided and panicked over. It’s known as exposure-response prevention therapy, and
it teaches us all an important lesson about trying new things. When we try and fail a number of
times, we may start to realize that the world has not ended. We feel a little discomfort, perhaps
some frustration, and then dust ourselves off and forge ahead.

Researchers have found that if we feel stuck in a rut, fun spontaneity might help break up the
monotony. When dealing with an onset of depression or the malaise of social distancing during
Covid, these activities might be particularly useful. Therapists recommend:

-trying a new meal,
-changing part of your routine,
-try something playful like jumping on the bed or doing new self-care activities like
meditation or a rejuvenating face mask,
-listen to a new genre of music you find interesting.

Change to the present
One change might be simply to pay attention to the present moment. Our lives are filled with
constant concern, worrying about the future and what it may bring or mistakes we made in the
past. It might actually be a welcomed change to take a moment and consider what is right in
front of us. Especially during these turbulent times we can use a bit of mindfulness and
presence.

Sometimes a mere change is not enough to lift us from depression or help us through stressful
times. In these cases it is best to reach out to a mental health professional. Bregman Medical
Group has decades of experience treating a wide range of disorders. We offer online psychiatric
and therapeutic treatment right to your device! Simply schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call
305-740-3340.

References:
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https://healthypsych.com/the-value-of-trying/

By BregmanMD | March 16, 2021 | Mental Health

You can also contact us Monday thru Friday 9 am – 5 pm at 305-740-3340.