Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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How Routines and Constraints Can Make You Happier and Healthier

Uncovering the surprising benefits of structure and limitations for mental well-being, creativity, and productivity in a world of endless choices.

I have a secret to share with you – there is magic to be had in routines and constraints.

Yes, you heard me right. Routines and constraints offer us a chance for greater happiness and health. And I’m not talking about dull, rigid, or oppressive routines and constraints. I’m talking about flexible, creative, and empowering ones. The ones that help you reduce stress and anxiety and enhance creativity and productivity.

This idea came to me earlier this week in the morning when I was lying in bed, trying to convince myself to get up and start my day. A morning routine that includes meditation, exercise, and breakfast makes me feel more energised, focused, and ready for whatever challenges the day brings.

Since I was young, I’ve always sensed that I was different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it wasn’t until later in life that I realised I had OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Despite the challenges it brings, I’ve found that my love for attention to detail, order, and routines actually helps me feel more at ease.

A year ago, I stumbled upon a book that changed everything. I was so impressed that I wrote a blog post about it, “Daily Rituals: Unique Working Routines – How Great Minds Make Time,” The book was about how some of history’s most successful people used routines to unlock their creativity.

This is not a formal or academic blog post. Instead, this is a thought-to-text post sharing my insight and experience. You may find the insights helpful, disagree with them, and have your own ideas to share. Whatever the case, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this as much as I wanted to write it.

So let’s dive into how routines and constraints can make you happier and healthier.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing a plain grey T-shirt and jeans, standing in a well-lit office, engaged in delivering a talk to an attentive audience. Mark Zuckerberg embracing routines and constraints, so he can mental capacity for making more significant decisions at work.

How Routines and Constraints Reduce Stress and Anxiety

We live in a world of endless choices and possibilities. While this can be exciting and liberating, it can also be overwhelming and stressful. So how do we decide what to do, when, and how? How do we cope with uncertainty, change, and unpredictability?

Do you remember when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for wearing the same T-shirts daily? He explained that it allows him to save his mental capacity for making more significant decisions at work. This is a perfect example of how setting boundaries can lead to greater focus and productivity.

Routines and constraints can help us answer the questions above. They can provide us with structure, stability, and predictability in our lives. Can help us simplify our decisions and focus on what matters most. They can help us feel more in control of our lives.

Research has shown that routines can play an essential role in mental health. For example, one study found that routines could help people better manage stress and anxiety. Regular routines can help you lower stress levels, form good daily habits, take better health care, and feel more productive and focused.

Illustration of a focused woman sitting cross-legged on a mat, surrounded by elements representing routines and constraints, working on her daily tasks to reduce stress and anxiety.

How Routines and Constraints Enhance Creativity and Productivity

You might think routines and constraints are the enemies of creativity and productivity. After all, don’t they limit your options, freedom, and spontaneity? Don’t they stifle your imagination, your innovation, your expression?

Not necessarily. In fact, routines and constraints can be the allies of creativity and productivity. They can help you make better use of your time and resources. Who knows, you might create the next big thing in social media! Constraints can help you free up your brain to focus on more complex tasks. They can help you challenge yourself to find new solutions within your set boundaries.

Personally, routines and constraints have helped me enhance my creativity and productivity by reducing procrastination, distraction, boredom, and resistance. I have overcome these obstacles by having a clear action plan or a specific goal and getting things done.

Consider the image below – a small plant growing in a pot that’s too small. The plant is pushing against the edges of the pot, and its roots are tightly packed and restricted at the bottom. But despite the limitations of the pot, the plant is still growing and thriving, with leaves and flowers blooming.

A pencil sketch of a large tree with green leaves thriving in a small transparent glass pot, roots visibly pushing against the pot's walls.

The image of the small plant growing in a pot that is too small. This represents that growth and beauty are possible even in a small, restrictive environment. This can apply to situations where we feel limited or constrained, whether in our jobs, relationships, or personal goals.

The plant represents our potential for growth and development, and the pot represents our constraints. However, with the right mindset and approach, we can still thrive and achieve great things within these limitations.

This can require resilience, perseverance, and a willingness to adapt and find creative solutions. Ultimately, the message is that even in difficult or challenging situations, there is still potential for growth and beauty if we approach them with the right mindset.

That’s it from my morning lightbulb moment!

In this blog post, I have shared how routines and constraints can make you happier and healthier. In addition, I have explained how they can help you reduce stress and anxiety and enhance creativity and productivity.

This idea came to me lying in bed, trying to convince myself to get up and start my day. I realised that routines and constraints make me feel more in control, satisfied, and fulfilled. This goes against conventional wisdom, so I am sharing this idea with you.

Sometimes life presents too many options, which can be overwhelming, making it difficult to make decisions. That’s why it’s vital to embrace routines and constraints. By having a set routine or following specific rules, we free up our minds to focus on more important decisions that truly matter to us.

At first, having routines and constraints adds complexity to our lives. But in the long run, it simplifies our lives by eliminating the daily hassles and freeing up our time and energy. So don’t be afraid to embrace routines and constraints in your life. They can help you simplify your life and focus on what truly matters.

I hope you find this a helpful post; maybe you’ll disagree with them or have your own ideas to share. Whatever the case, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope you’ll give routines and constraints a try in your life. You might be surprised by how much they can make you happier and healthier.

Thank you for reading.😊

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