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Are You a Deviant?

Written by Dr. Dan Johnston

"The less routine, the more life" ~ Amos Bronson Alcott

In life, we develop patterns of routine that organize and structure our day. Routine is helpful, but over time it may become a rut of monotony, a pattern of living that is emotionally deadening.

More Ways to Practice Deviance:
Wear a new color and make it bright.
Buy a bold tie.
Eat an exotic new food.
Go to a movie in the middle of the day.
Skip instead of walk.
Send yourself flowers.
Run barefoot through a park.

Ask yourself, "Have I been deviant today?"

By practicing deviancy and learning to do things differently, you can get more pleasure and excitement from life. It may be as simple as changing the way you drive to work. Tomorrow go a different way. Leave earlier if you have to. Take the scenic route and see something different. Be open to the experience and see if it brightens your day. Do the same thing on your way home. Take a different path, the one less traveled by you.

To alter a routine you must first recognize that you have one in need of change. What do you do day after day? Do you have a morning routine? A bedtime routine? An exercise routine?

Once you've identified your habits, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Why do I do this?

2. Did I choose it or just fall into it?

3. Do I like it?

4. Is it helpful?

5. Can I change it?

If your habits don't seem useful, it's time to mix things up . Here's how:

1. Identify one of your routines.

2. Brainstorm five ways to challenge your routines.

3. For the next five days do it differently each day.

4. See which way you like best.

With a little effort, you can learn to be deviant for a healthier and happier life.

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Dan Johnston, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and former director of psychological services at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. He also serves on the faculty of the Mercer University School of Medicine.