So sometimes we get stuck. In rush hour traffic… in grocery checkout lines… in mud.
Those are all pretty frustrating, but the stuck I’m thinking about is a little deeper. (No, not deeper in the mud…)
All of us sometimes get stuck in the dreaded daily grind. Now, what exactly is the daily grind? And why do we get stuck in it?
Well, everyone has their own version of a daily grind. In fact, most people have more than one type of daily grind (that includes me!). It could be a particular project or maybe your entire job. It could be your commute or your workouts or your home routine. It could even be your personal activities that started out fun.
It doesn’t matter WHAT it is… but we all know when it happens. When something that started as fun or interesting becomes overwhelmingly blah, it has made the transformation from routine to grind.
Why does that happen? Why does something we enjoy doing become a chore?
In part, the obvious answer is that it gets repetitive. We do it too much and it doesn’t change enough to keep us interested. After all, even without modern attention span deficits, humans like/need variety. Take my commute… every day I get up at 5:15 to catch the 6:40 to get to Union by 7:30 to take the subway to Bay and into work by 7:50. Then at 4 (if I’m lucky), I rush out of work, run to the subway, back to union to catch the 5:10 or 5:25 to get home by 6:45. That wears anyone down after weeks, months, years of doing it daily. Its like that callous that happens on your middle finger when you’ve written too many essays by hand! (I still have mine from university…)
So we’ve got repetition as a source of grind, but we can add to that lack of challenge or lack of intellectual stimulation. Work is a prime example, especially at many cubicle, 9-5 jobs (just ask my hubby… he lives it daily). For many unlucky people, their work takes little real thought or dynamic problem solving. Combine that with the repetition and you’ve got boredom overload!
Wait! There’s more… what about the opposite end?? Sometimes we are weighed down by an overabundance of stress, daunting workloads, unreasonable timelines, or multitudes of problems that we can’t control. Even when we try to meet these as challenges, over time these work the same way: bringing us down slowly by wearing away at our mental health.
This happens to the best of us and sometimes we have no way to counteract it. I mean sure, we can get a new job or move, but in most cases these are not easy things to do just because we feel a little worn down. But to be honest, neither of those reasons are the real reason something becomes a grind.
The real reason is you and me. Our perception. Our attitude. We allow ourselves to be worn down or stay in a rut. No, we don’t do this on purpose, but we do. Over time, we stop feeling positive attitudes towards those repetitive, mundane tasks which allows them to wear us down into a grind.
- Life is all attitude. Attitude creates perception. Perception creates reality.
If instead, every morning we wake up and find something (or many things) to be thankful for and go through the day purposely trying to find something positive in all the negativity, we may find fulfillment in that daily grind.
“Woah Lydia… you’re getting a little new-agey on me here.” Ok, I’m not big on the ‘manifest reality’ ideas that I hear everywhere now. HOWEVER, I do see their point, even from a psychological perspective. The first rule of cognitive behaviour therapy is that you must change your mind to change yourself. That is all I’m saying here…
If you want to stop feeling ‘the daily grind’ you have to stop feeling the daily grind. Change your attitude to ‘feel’ positivity instead of dread. Thankfulness instead of anger. Happiness instead of boredom.
Who knows, it may just work!
- Side note: The Grind is the coffee shop I’ve recently been stopping at in the mornings. Every time I see the sign now I try to remind myself of this and force positivity into my day. Although, it helps that there’s coffee!