The Comfort of Our Homes

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The joyous sigh of relief as we walk through the front door is overwhelming, stepping inside the comfort of our home as the world is shut out after a long day at the work or a tiring journey. Our homes are our safe, havens. We have sofas to snuggle up in the corners of, clean showers to have all of our innovative ideas and a warm bed to drift off into the abyss of sleep. But like anything comfortable, it can be detrimental to us.

I’ve been abroad for the last year and a half. For the first nine months, I was travelling through Europe and then throughout India, never staying at a palace for more than a couple weeks. In the last six months, I was stuck in lockdown in India, but have now safely returned to the UK, my ‘home’.

Having been in England for a while now, I feel like I am slowly adapting back to a western way of life, which is a slightly different pace from the chaos of India. But a comparison of the diverse types of societies is an article for another time; here I want to discuss the dark side of our homes.

My story

Over the last 15 years, I have been brought up within the four walls of my family home. I know every creak in the stairs, the finer nuances of how to open the doors without making a sound, the perfect spot on the sofa to experience a movie. But, what I never realised is that the house itself was a living entity, a muscle as I now like to call it.

I’ve only been able to realise this due to having been away for such an extended period, 30 cities across 15 countries in the time I’ve been gone, to say I’ve been outside my comfort zone is an understatement. Almost colliding in a head-on collision with a tram in Serbia and being practically run over more times than I can count in India, are just two of the many stand-out moments.

Through reflection, I realise we build and collect a selection of habits in the place we are most comfortable. I honestly feel that my development has stagnated while being in the home I’ve known for more than a decade.

It feels like it’s a place of inaction as if there is an intrinsically deep muscle memory of mine woven into the fabric of the house; everywhere I look, everything I touch, I can see a younger version of myself; playing, laughing, studying, crying, shouting, sleeping. This I feel is dragging me back into the depths of my previous selves, versions of me that existed in the past, something I’m avidly trying to prevent.

Similar to how when your body is out of alignment, the muscles compensate for each other shortening or extending, to a new normal, to allow you to continue to go about your daily business. Well, in my case, I’ve been to the Osteopath, to be realigned, and now the muscles are working against me, pulling me back to what they think is normal.

Use your environment

A defensive measure against my new found muscle memory is to make our new habits as seamless as possible. Use the environment we know so well to your advantage. It takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to become automatic, but I believe that when we have something working against us, it can take longer.

For instance, I like to journal in the morning for 45 minutes with a green tea. The night before I fill the kettle up making sure there is a mug with a teabag ready, in addition to this, I’ll make sure my notepad is placed on the kitchen table ready for my consciousness to flow onto the page in the early hours of the day.

While this sounds easy to do, the safety and comfort of the duvet in the mornings willing me to sleep for just an extra five or ten minutes, as I used to do, is always there. But I know I’ve made it as easy as possible to execute on my morning routine.

Discipline & Willpower

Discipline vs Willpower. Do they both exist, or is it one or the other? They could be the same, call it what you like but we need them both. To combat the muscle memory of your mind, it needs rewiring to a new standard. To do so, find a routine we like, and stick to it. Some want to rehaul their daily lives for an utterly fresh regiment. Others are more comfortable cementing aspects of their routine before building more. Similarly, however, the need to adhere to what we are trying to achieve is paramount. Don’t think it’ll be easy, we can be fighting decades of muscle memory, every second of the day trying to revert us, this isn’t a one and done fix it can take time.

Additionally, to be conscious of what we are doing is critical; if things aren’t working, tweak it, not everything in life is a one size fits all.

This muscle or muscle memory I am going on about is a metaphor for the mind, and like any muscle, it needs to relax, and be worked out. It develops when you sleep, and when you push yourself outside the circle, that is your comfort zone. It does, however, like to take the easy way out, which isn’t always the best for us. So next time we find ourselves lying in bed, binge-watching Netflix into the early hours of the morning, coming to the end of our box of chocolates, thinking ‘how the hell did I end up here.’

This is a friendly reminder of the fact that we control our muscles, it doesn’t control us, no matter how difficult it is. We can and will overcome the comfort of our mind.

Have you got any bad habits? Let me know in the comments or drop me a message on any of the following social networks. I would love to hear from you! — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Youtube.