Throughout the pandemic, many of us have been forced to stick to repeating routines more than usual. While some struggle with doing the same things over and over, plenty of people have found their rhythm and actually find that there are some things they don’t mind having to do repeatedly. In the spirit of trying to see the best of every situation, we bring back this story from early 2020.
Do you have a favorite hiking trail you always walk, a song you can’t take off repeat, or a recipe you will never get bored of cooking? If you love to do something over and over again, don’t worry, you’re not boring, it’s part of human nature.
Research, by Ed O’Brien of the University of Chicago, looked into why some activities defy the principle of “hedonic adaptation,” otherwise known as the concept that humans only derive entertainment or pleasure from novel experiences. O’Brien showed people new books and movies and then asked them how much they would enjoy repeating the experience. People were surprised to find that they would enjoy repeating the experience more than they expected. This is because even when we have done something before, we discover new details and emotions towards it with repeated practices.
Given that our brains can only process an estimated 0.0003 percent of the information we encounter at any given time, it is no wonder we find new nuances when we repeat experiences.
So if you love going to the same yoga class each morning, walking to your go-to corner store, or reading that book for the 10th time, you’re not boring; you’re simply finding new and engaging components of the activity each time you do it.