And my groundhog with me: how to deal with the routine


The story of the reporter, caught in a time loop after filming a holiday in a provincial American town, made a strong impression on viewers around the world.

Groundhog Day was released 27 years ago. And since then, its name has become a designation for events that are repeated over and over again in our lives.

Such a different routine

“My mother and I agreed to call each other on Sundays, and I know in advance that she will once again talk about the successes achieved by the daughters of her friends and acquaintances,” says 43-year-old Lydia. – What to answer to this, it is not clear! “I’m sorry I didn’t turn out to be the daughter you deserved”? Waiting for this conversation every time poisons my mood since Friday night. “

But some are pleased with the repetitions: “When I decided to do exercises, I weighed 120 kg,” says 28-year-old Igor. – I knew that I could hardly do it for a long time, and I agreed with myself that I would do the exercises for no more than 15 minutes, but on the other hand, every day, without exception. Six months have passed, now I have 95 kg. I won: I feel better and I am proud that I have fulfilled my plans. “

It seems that the monotony of actions does not always make you bored?

“If this is our own choice, then repetition gives a feeling of control,” says psychoanalyst Maria Khudyakova. “Step by step we go to the goal, and even though each step is somewhat similar to the previous one, we notice the difference, which confirms the progress.”

Self-violence marker – the word “must” and the idea that one must endure

We go to work, meet friends, go on vacation …

“And all this gives a sense of stability and the ability to predict, – continues the psychoanalyst. “Imagine the opposite: constantly changing conditions are very stressful.”

Never know what will happen the next moment, to what result our actions will lead … It is interesting to watch such adventures in the movies, but hardly anyone would want to experience it in reality! But, as in the case of Lydia, the routine can be unbearable, depressing and bored.

“In this case, boredom is a sign of violence against myself: I do what I do not like, but I consider myself obliged to do it, and not always knowing exactly why,” explains gestalt therapist Evgeny Tumilo. So sometimes we force ourselves to be executive at work, polite with neighbors, loving with parents …

Will it endure, fall in love?

The marker of self-violence is the word “must” and the idea that one must endure. “It is necessary – this is someone else’s” want “- continues the gestalt therapist. “Mom wants to talk to me, society requires me to work.” How to get out of this?

There is a dead end road. “Many are trying to force themselves to love what they really do not like, for example, cleaning the floors,” says Evgeniy Tumilo. – And this, of course, does not work: it is difficult to fall in love with ridiculous movements with a wet cloth in an uncomfortable position! But you can understand what the need is behind this. “

Why do I need a clean floor? To satisfy the feeling of beauty, to avoid shame in front of the guests arriving, or … Having understood my need, I can consciously choose: to put up with the inconvenience for the sake of a significant goal, or, perhaps, to entrust this matter to specialists from the cleaning company …

And my groundhog with me: how to deal with the routine

Looking for a way out

“When I first came to visit my college friend, I blurted out out of embarrassment that I love boiled onions,” says 34-year-old Dmitry. “And every time since then I have been carefully treated to boiled onions, which I really cannot stand! It was only recently that I finally pulled myself together and admitted it. “

The story is rather funny, but the difficulty is quite real: even when we know what we want, it is not easy for us to announce it to others. After all, we run the risk of violating their expectations and our unspoken promise to remain the way they used to see us.

In addition, being dissatisfied with what is happening, we do not always know what to replace it with.

“If I don’t want to call my mom, then what do I want: what kind of relationship is acceptable for me? If I don’t want to be flexible at work, how do I want to see myself? Ask yourself questions until you get an answer, ”suggests Evgeny Tumilo.

Perhaps this is easier said than done: getting used to spinning in repetitions, involved in a series of actions and events that seem necessary to us, we do not immediately find ourselves and our desires in them. This requires some perseverance and a willingness to self-exploration. It is no coincidence that we are sometimes tempted to just derail everything.

Bill Murray’s character from Groundhog Day also gorged on sweets and robbed cashiers. Of course, he knew that he would “get nothing.” But even the fear of punishment or negative consequences does not always stop us.

The lure of destruction

“An excess of routine can lead to a loss of taste for life, and in extreme cases, to despair and depression,” notes Maria Khudyakova. The antipode of patience is the feeling “That’s it, I’ve had enough!” Sometimes you have to allow yourself to get bad just to be different.

The idea of ​​destruction is linked to the idea of ​​liberation. Lack of freedom begins to weigh on. Anger, even though we consider it a negative feeling in everyday life, is useful: it allows us to understand that we are bad, and mobilizes strength so that we can do ourselves well. “When we are charged with anger, its splashing out is akin to orgasm, it is a bodily and mental release,” explains Evgeniy Tumilo.

If anger is at the address, then the problem is being solved or can be solved. If not to the address, it will not be solved for sure. If I have a conflict with my boss, and I yell at my wife, the situation at work will not change and the tension will build up.

Through rebellion lies the path of liberation from norms, values, imposed rules

Getting rid of boredom doesn’t have to be through rebellion. But through rebellion lies the path of liberation from norms, values, and imposed rules – these attitudes are stronger than the resources of an individual. Hence, a riot arises as a kind of overstrain of forces in order to create a super-ability for oneself to overcome.

The society exerts powerful pressure on us (which is expressed in vowel and unspoken demands of what we should be and what to do), and in order to overcome it, we need a lot of energy.

“This is similar to how a teenager emancipates from his parents through rebellion,” continues the gestalt therapist. “In some cases, emancipation from society occurs in a similar way and also has an antisocial coloration.”

Leaving into loneliness, isolation, asceticism can also be a form of revolt against the imposed norms. But a full-fledged human life is possible only in communication with others, so we strive to integrate our desires into social life.

Thirst for perfection

The hero of the film came out of replay when he had a perfect day. And we are interested in a fairy tale in which you can live perfectly every day. Or not everyone, but at least one.

But there is a paradox in the plot: although the calendar is always the same number, the eternal second of February, and the situation is the same, the reporter does something new every day. If we do the same thing, we end up with the same thing. Perhaps if we start trying something different, we may see different results.

Major changes may seem unsafe to us, but “we ourselves are top managers of our lives and can choose what to do,” emphasizes Maria Khudyakova, “and also choose the scale of change. We may not even start with them right away, but try to “find the differences” in monotonous events, as in magic pictures of childhood. Perhaps you will see the differences and feel in which direction you want to move. “

Pick up and adjust

But what can we do if the unpleasant routine concerns not only ourselves, but also others, as in the case of Lydia and her mother?

“Everything that is connected with others is potentially conflicting, and the conflict can be insoluble,” warns Yevgeny Tumilo. – Not everyone can come to an understanding. And here the idea of ​​one’s own powerlessness can be healing. “

Children, as a rule, are powerless to reeducate their parents. In this case, it makes sense to pose the question differently: how to adapt to an unpleasant situation. Do not endure while suffering, but adapt creatively.

“You can, for example, change the agreement and call up not once a week, but once a month,” says the gestalt therapist. “And it can also be useful to know what the other’s need is behind the behavior that we don’t like.”

You can ask about it or create your own hypothesis and then test it. Perhaps an older mother is anxious and wants to be reassured, or doubts that she was a good parent and wants recognition. Understanding this, we can build communication differently.

The point is not to make one decision for life and follow it no matter what, but to allow yourself to see contradictions (inside and out) and look for ways to resolve them.

Failure in the matrix?

The fleeting sensation that what is happening to us is repeated may have purely physiological reasons. “I came to Tyumen, where I had never been before, and was surprised to find that I knew which house would be around the corner,” says 28-year-old Evgenia. – Later I remembered that I saw these streets in a dream!

This sensation, familiar to many of us, is called “déjà vu” (French for “already seen”): as if we had already been in this situation before. Until recently, it was believed that déjà vu could not be induced artificially.

But neuropsychiatrist Akira O’Connor from the University of St Andrews (UK) and his team managed to induce deja vu from volunteers1: They were shown a list of words such as “bed”, “pillow”, “night”, “visions.” To create a sense of déja vu, O’Connor’s team first asked if there were words in the list that began with the letter “s”. The participants replied no.

But when they were later asked if they had heard the word “sleep,” they were able to remember that they had not, but at the same time the word seemed familiar. “They reported a strange déjà vu experience,” says O’Connor. His team performed MRI scans of the brains of 21 volunteers while they experienced this induced déjà vu. One would expect that regions of the brain involved in memories, such as the hippocampus, are activated.

But no: the decision-making frontal lobes of the brain were active. O’Connor believes that the frontal lobes are likely to check memories and send signals if there is any memory error – a conflict between what we actually experienced and what we think we experienced. During déjà vu, some conflict resolution occurs in the brain.

Déja vu has an antipode: jamais vu (French for “never seen”) – when a well-known place or person seems to be seen for the first time. Studies show that up to 97% of people experience déjà vu at least once in their life. Jamevue is much less common.

1 Investigating the role of assessment method on reports of déjà vu and tip-of-the-tongue states during standard recognition tests. 21 Apr 2016, PLoS One.

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