You don’t have to be an Aspie to appreciate repetition. I’m not talking about irritating children shouting “Mum! Mum! Mum! Mum!” ad nauseam, or the constant flicking of a morphine switch in hospital. I mean those little acts that become habits or rituals which seem to reassure us and make our day a little brighter.
Maybe you like to sit at the kitchen table while coffee brews on the stove because it reminds you of being at university and spending quality time with your friends. Perhaps you eat tuna for lunch almost every day because that’s what your Mum gave you when you were very young. Maybe that’s just me … whatever. The point is that certain acts and substances get associated with times, events and feelings. It’s lunchtime so I’m probably in the mood for a tuna sandwich or panini. I’m making coffee so I’m thinking about my friends and about being independent.
Most of the time we don’t even think about these acts of repetition or why we’re doing them. Yet we continue doing them, so there must be a good reason.
On the flip side some repetitive behaviour isn’t beneficial. OCD, eating disorders and self-harming are a few examples. People seem to think that these behaviours do help them and even when they realise that’s not true, it still takes a while to break the habit.
If you need help breaking bad habits or developing good ones you may find the Zen Habits blog useful. (Unless your habit is really dangerous, like anorexia or self-harming, in which case I’d suggest seeing your doctor and getting some counseling as a matter of urgency.)
As for the good habits, I recommend you make time to enjoy them properly. Don’t rush your coffee if half the value in drinking it comes from the feelings associated with that ritual. Don’t feel like you have to watch TV because your partner wants to catch their favourite show – if you’d rather pick up a book then do that instead! Find a good vendor of tuna sandwiches or panini and visit them often.
Psst. Want to make this blog a habit? Try another post!