Breaking the Monotony: 7 Ways to Regain Your Zest For Life
Indeed, we’ll never realize the value of something until it’s taken away from us. Everything used to be simple when we were kids–young and filled with zest for life. It was all about going to school, playing outside, and crying about trivial things like your mom buying you a toy cheaper than the one you really wanted or scraping your knees after an intense playtime session. It used to be easy to live in the moment when we didn’t have the entire future to think about.
As adults, we have to work for everything. Unlike when we were kids, we can’t just wait around until the things we want are handed to us. Most are stuck at nine-to-five jobs they hate just to pay the bills and have food on the table. It’s harder to live in the moment when you know every decision you make has an impact on your future. With all the frustrations, pressure, uncertainty, and challenges that come with being an adult, it’s almost a normal occurrence for us to come to a point in our lives where we feel lost, scared, or frustrated–and even worse, when we begin to lose interest in activities we used to enjoy.
Depression vs. maturity
Losing interest can be a symptom of an underlying psychological condition. They even have a word for it–Anhedonia. It means “inability to feel pleasure” and, according to Healthline, is usually a core symptom of a major depressive disorder or another mental health disorder. Though not everyone who experiences Anhedonia has a mental disorder, it’s still something that needs to be treated with the help of a professional, especially if it is a symptom of a mental disorder and cannot be easily cured with a simple lifestyle change.
However, Michael Schreiner of Evolution Counseling has an alternative explanation. Apparently, losing interest can be a sign of maturity. He says losing interest might mean that “you’ve grown and matured and therefore require more sophisticated stimuli to engage your interest.” Just like how we liked watching cartoons as a kid and prefer more sophisticated TV shows as we become adults. Our maturity level advances as we grow up. So it’s normal if we lose interest in the things that we used to like at an earlier age. When they cease to satisfy us, we just need to find new things that will better match our maturity level.
7 Ways to Regain Your Zest for Life
Get to the bottom of it
Start by doing a root cause analysis of what went wrong and where it went wrong. Then start doing something about them. Those problems might be getting in the way of your growth and might be the reason you feel stuck. By eliminating them, you are making room for new positive experiences and things to take an interest in. It might be because your job is burning you out. A short vacation might help you get back on track, but if you still haven’t regained your interest after that, find another job or hobby to take an interest in. Don’t force yourself to like doing something just because you think you’re required to do it.
It can also be the opposite. You might’ve taken a break too long and become too comfortable and lost interest in your job or hobby. In this case, allow yourself to lose interest for a while. If it really interests you, you will eventually find your way back into it again. If you’ve already done everything you can but still remain uninterested, it’s time to find a new passion. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll never find it if you just keep doing what you’ve always been doing and if you stay in the same place all the time.
Break your routine
As adults living busy lives, we can only fit so much of our activities in one day. It makes having a routine convenient. Because how else are we supposed to make time for everything? However, if you’ve lost interest in what you’ve been doing, you’ll never be able to find excitement unless you change. As Dan Cumberland from The Meaning Movement says, “Sometimes breaking your routine is really important. Sometimes life, energy, and creativity are found outside of your usual routine.”
Visit a museum and bask in the beauty of art instead of going straight home. Order something different. Wake up at a different time on weekends. These might be little things, but you’ll be surprised at how much difference changing them can make in your life. Learn new skills and pick up new hobbies. Perhaps you could learn a different language. Or you could engage in a hobby you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time to do. Try a new hairstyle or a full makeover. These new experiences might help you regain your zest for life. Plus, they’re good topics for conversation and a good opportunity to find like-minded people that are into the same things as you do. The experience might even give you a new perspective on things.
With our busy lives and all the distractions that surround us, we humans tend to live most of our lives without focusing on the present moment. We wash the dishes while thinking about that vacation we had last week. We eat, but we don’t notice the taste of the food because we’re thinking about something our co-worker said earlier that day. While it’s not harmful to let our minds wander every once in a while, making a habit out of it can make us lose touch with the present moment. It can make us miss out on a lot of important moments and feelings because we never give our full attention to what’s currently happening.
In a study by Killingsworth and Gilbert, they concluded that a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. If you keep thinking about the past, the future, and anything but the present, you’ll eventually find what you’re doing pointless and lose interest. You’ll only be able to appreciate the value of what you’re doing if you dedicate your full attention as you do it. Practice mindfulness, and maybe you’ll find yourself more invested in doing the things you like more than ever.
Researchers at Penn State suggest that people who get at least 15 minutes of physical activity during the day are more likely to act more enthusiastic or excited than those who are less active. Apparently, when we engage in physical activity, levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin—hormones associated with happiness—shoot up in the brain. Even if you feel uninspired and unable to find satisfaction in the things you used to love doing, getting even a little bit of exercise can help in improving your mood. Maybe it won’t help you get your enthusiasm back for the activities you’ve lost interest in right away, but it will help you get the enthusiasm you need for finding new things to take an interest in.
Celebrate little victories
When you lose interest in the things that you do, sometimes it’s because you fail to appreciate their value. You begin to think doing them is pointless just because they don’t make you happy anymore. It might be impossible to force yourself to just begin liking them again, but you can channel your appreciation to other things for the meantime. Have you taken a risk recently, or done something you’ve never done before? If there are fears you’ve overcome or something new you’ve done, they deserve to be celebrated. If the things you used to do don’t excite you anymore, you can always find other things to be excited about, no matter how small they are.
Talk about your dreams
It’s easier to find meaning in what we’re doing today when we think about how it will affect our future. Open a text application on your computer or take a blank paper and write about the person you want to be 5 years later. Do you still see yourself doing any of the things you’re doing today down the line? If you work as an accountant right now, do you still see yourself working in a bank 5 years later? If you see yourself doing something else in the end, it’s time to ditch your current job or hobby and go after that instead. What you’re doing now should be contributing to your life in the long-run. Life is too short to waste our time in doing things that won’t contribute to our growth.
Open your doors to new people
The idea of having to form new close relationships other than the ones who’ve always been there for you for a long time might be scary. However, it’s essential for your growth as a person. We outgrow friends, but it doesn’t mean we should leave them behind. It just means we should find people we relate to better and motivate us as we take a different path. After all, we can only be as happy and successful as the people we surround ourselves with.
Going through a phase in your life where you start to lose interest in the things you used to love can be a very frustrating experience. It won’t be easy but know that you’re never going to be stuck in that phase forever. Allow yourself to recover. Don’t keep forcing yourself on doing things that interest you just because you know you have to do something to get out of the phase. When you’re ready, get to the bottom of it. Find the possible causes of your problem and do something about those you can change or control. It might take a long time for you to find happiness and new things to take interest in again. But never give up on searching.
You will be interested in other things again. You just need to look further. After all, it’s your life. No one else knows what you want and what makes you happy but you.
Lois Sapare is an editor at Scoopfed. She is a former student journalist with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. When she’s not writing content on a variety of topics, you can find her watching psych thriller films or keeping up with the latest buzz in the tech world.