Make your bed - why structure can be really powerful
In Handbook for Today, we have checklists of micro habits to increase our well-being on a daily level. Some of those micro-habits are related to structure.
Let’s help ourselves by helping our brain
As our brains have to deal with a lot of information most of the time they can get overstimulated quite quickly. Without going too deep into the neuroscientific detail of this, if we have very little structure in our life, we need to figure things out newly all the time. The part of our brain that usually works on “autopilot” can’t figure things out, we need to engage our other part for deeper thinking and that is literally physically exhausting. So having certain routines helps to free the system to do other things that are more relevant for us to make progress.
A simple way to show self-respect
Another aspect of structure is that it gives us self-respect. What do we need self-respect for? Once we hold ourselves accountable for acting on what we want to change in our lives, this gives us confidence and confidence makes us feel better about ourselves.
The good news is, we can train ourselves to make positive change in our lives. And these changes can be very little. Making the bed in the morning is an example. Setting the alarm a bit earlier in the mornings to get a bit more time to get ready. Things that take some time, but also save a lot of time because they soon will be available to us on auto-pilot. We can train our brains to think that we can trust ourselves to get jobs done. That is a great thing. If we have self-trust, we have far more confidence to tackle bigger issues.
A positive effort-reward balance
When we do things, the reward should be bigger than the effort. Making your bed is rewarding in the short term and the long term. If you made your bed in the morning, you can enjoy unfolding the sheets at night, feeling great about the calming atmosphere that a tidy bed gives you. In a hotel, isn’t it nice to have those sheets done very nicely? That’s the hotel showing you respect as a guest. They care. If you walk into your bedroom and see a bed that’s made, it tells you that someone cares. That someone is YOU!
In the long run, making your bed, being responsible for some of the small things in your life and sticking to things that you do for yourself will give you confidence. You will learn to get to know yourself as a person who get things done. Who is structured. Who cares.
Self-respect leads to being respected
Getting into the habit of making your bed can lead to other small changes boosting your confidence and your self-respect. And what usually happens is that people who respect themselves get respect from others. When we care about ourselves, it starts showing and the people around you will notice!