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But I Like Doing It That Way! by Anita Mann

29 Oct 2021 8:48 AM | Anonymous


By Anita Mann 

‘New normal’. That’s a phrase I hear quite often these days as people deal with living in a  pandemic. There was a time when if I were dressed in a toque, sunglasses and a face mask I  would have been stopped by the police and questioned. Now its ‘normal’. In fact, people  without face masks stick out. But that’s not where I am going with this. That’s an argument for  a different crowd.  

People act like little heat seekers trying to find the elusive normal but what is it really? Perhaps  we are such creatures of habit that normal becomes whatever we do regularly without  mindfulness. Pay attention to all the little things you do in a day. Many of them are done  without any thought at all because we have done them so often. I golf and curl. In watching  others get ready to hit the ball or throw the rock often enough, their routine becomes evident.  Watch yourself in slow motion as can be recorded on the nifty cell phones. Little movements  done mindlessly which result in a good shot…or not. It’s mental efficiency supposedly allowing  to move about your day not having to deliberate over everything.  

These behaviours are ingrained and when something interrupts them we experience  discomfort. Body aches and pains can do it for sports. A sore knee changes how you sit in the  curling hack. Or a bum shoulder modifies your golf swing. Angst! You are complete aware that  this is not normal.  

Physical habits are constantly adapting to our bodies as they age. We get out of chairs  differently or climb stairs in a modified way. But what about our minds? Unlike physical habits  we can’t necessarily see how our thinking is changing and adapting to new realities. But  change may show up in not remembering a name or direction to turn. Others often see it first.  Like your physical movements, challenge yourself to observe your mental habits. What mental  habits have become calcified, done without any due consideration and so habitual we are not  aware of the benefits or damage they may cause?  

All is not lost. Just as exercise, stretching and therapy such as massage can help with those  physical adaptations, we can practice mental steps to break us out of seeking normal and help  us embrace change and, key word, adapt.  

I am not a psychologist but I have come to believe in a few ‘tips’ I have learned along the way. I  humbly offer them to you, the reader: 

- Drive or walk a new way home 

- Read a book or watch a tv program you would not usually consider 

- Meet a new person and really listen to a different perspective 

- Reconsider automatic opinions and responses 

- Try a new hobby or craft.  

- Cook or bake a new recipe that calls for unfamiliar ingredients. 

- Play a challenging board game 

- Organize your closet differently 

- Try a new style of clothes or hair style 

That’s just a few things but you get the idea. Yes, normal is your routine and it is very  comfortable. But normal does not always serve you well. Adaptability does. Making little  changes in your life helps prepare you for the inevitable big changes we must make as we age.  “New normal” happens every day when you challenge your brain to be flexible and open to  new ideas. Consider it Pilates for the mind.


  • 29 Oct 2021 4:06 PM | Pat
    Love the tips- you do sound like a psychologist
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