Take the Road Less Traveled…Can a GPS App Lead You to Psychological Well Being?
Part of the change and growth process involves shaking up our daily routine and upending our routine way of doing things.
One tip I give to many of my patients: download the smart phone travel and navigation app WAZE. THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT!
WAZE can be a great teacher. Most people are stuck in their familiar and routine patterns and come to be dependent and even covet the known. The majority of us like reliability, and prefer to steer clear of surprises even if those surprises are good for us. The more we choose the known, the more we take the familiar road, the less our brain is used and the more we become dependent on our reflexive patterns. This is where WAZE comes in.
WAZE detects the fastest route to take to get from Point A to Point B. Sometimes it will be the road we are used to taking. But a lot of times WAZE will send us a different way – sometimes even on back streets that we’ve never heard of. WAZE will show us how to avoid traffic jams and accidents – but we have to trust it and go off of our familiar route.
For people who are afraid of the new, it can be a battle. But if you surrender to it, WAZE will not let you down. When you follow WAZE, it will take you places that you may have passed hundreds of times but never explored, through neighborhoods that you never know existed — nice neighborhoods and maybe not so nice neighborhoods.
You will discover many knew things that were always there but that you never focused on before. It will expand your surroundings. And the best part is that if you miss a street because you were distracted by something you’ve never seen before, WAZE will re-set its bearings and get you back on the path. WAZE is like having a trusted tour guide who helps you realize that it’s okay to wander off your familiar path.
I love the beaten path when I’m driving. I do not like to veer away from it. But WAZE asks me to veer all the time – and each time I do, I am reminded of how much I pass by every day without paying any attention, and how nice it is to experience new places and new terrain.
Psychotherapy and cultivating mindfulness does the same thing. It leads us to discover that new and wonderful kinds of experiences are all around us. Mindfulness makes the mundane much more dimensional and colorful and meaningful, and life in general becomes much more interesting as we begin to let go of our reflexive assumptions, behaviors and anxieties, and live a life where we pay attention, get to know ourselves and learn how to take real care of ourselves.