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Bored in Relationships? You May Be Addicted To Stress

Ever wondered why you seem to be uneasy and dissatisfied in a relationship even though everything is going smoothly? The reason you find your stable relationship boring is not because the passion is gone, it could be because you were brought up in a chaotic environment and are now addicted to stress.


Shalmalee Gadgil

14-05-2023

bored in my relationship

 

Relational boredom is common in every (long-term) relationship. You need to find ways to keep your relationship exciting. But boredom doesn't have to be a bad thing. It could be a sign that things are stable and going well. But it could also be a sign that you are not used to stability and maybe, on an unconscious level, you miss the chaos of past experiences.


Early life experiences represent an important influence on children’s neural, behavioural, and psychological development, having long-lasting effects across a wide range of domains. Experience shapes neural plasticity and through this behaviour and psychological processes throughout the lifespan. Infancy and early childhood are periods of particularly high rates of synaptic regrowth and remodeling in the brain, during which, experience can have long-lasting effects on development.


Neurobiology

Early life stress has been shown to have a broad-reaching impact on biopsychosocial development and outcomes including concentrations and function of neurotransmitters, genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic mechanisms, inflammatory mechanisms, and altered cognitive and emotional processing due to persistent and pervasive effects on prefrontal–hypothalamic–amygdala and dopaminergic circuits. Dopaminergic signaling is critical to the adolescent development of working memory, which is a cardinal cognitive process vital to reasoning and judgment. Impact on this circuitry is linked to depressive-like behaviours. The body's natural response to depression/sadness is rapid dopamine release to feel happy.

Experiencing dopamine to overcome boredom in relationships

Over time, with repetition of such instances, your brain gets habituated and develops a mechanism where it needs to experience a certain amount of "stress"/sadness/dissatisfaction to release dopamine (to feel happy). Stability starts to feel like boredom. Your brain starts to naturally promote reward-seeking behaviours, which in this case are stressful and chaotic situations, to make you feel happy (rapid dopamine release). This results in impulsivity, affects your judgment and decision-making and pushes you to reward-seeking behaviours through adulthood.


Belief System/Pattern Creation

On top of this, our senses are also influenced by our social and individual conditioning, i.e. based on our experiences, we create certain generalizations and certain beliefs and then delete or distort our observations to keep them in line with our generalizations. Now with this incomplete & distorted observation, we create an internal representation of the world that is, at times, very different from the world.


Due to the unstable/inconsistent experiences in early life, we develop a generalisation - a belief that today, distorts or deletes the healthy experiences that we perceive today. Eg. Aggression means love. My developmental past with my immediate or secondary caregivers tells me that unless there is aggression, argument, or chaos in a relationship, it is not love.


Neuroplasticity - Solution

Neuroscience has greatly illuminated our understanding of how both positive and negative life experiences affect the brain. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change, reorganize, or grow neural networks. This can involve functional changes due to brain damage or structural changes due to learning.


Reframing is a process that helps people bring about a change in their behaviours. This process helps people become mindful of the positive intention behind their current behaviour and thereafter helps them identify and apply an alternate behaviour that would help them get closer to their outcome.


reframing mind to avoid boredom in relationships

When you first try to adopt a new behavior, you have to enlist your prefrontal cortex, the thinking brain, and insert conscious effort, intention, and thought into the process. When you’ve performed the new routine enough times for connections to be made and strengthened in your brain, the behavior will require less effort as it becomes the default pattern.


You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Unfortunately, that’s not completely true. The amount of time it takes to modify behavior depends on what you’re trying to do and can range anywhere from three weeks to months or even longer. The relationship between adopting a new behavior and automaticity (acting without having to think about it) is much like climbing a hill that starts out steep and gradually levels off. In the beginning, you make some really impressive progress, but the gains diminish over time.


What Can I Do To Avoid Being Bored In Relationships?

  • If you experience boredom, then reflect on where it is truly coming from and always discuss it with your partner.

  • Don't assume or reach a conclusion directly. Get a professional assessment.

  • Seek professional help and break these limiting/toxic patterns by reframing your unconscious mind.


 

RESOURCES:

  1. Smith, K., & Pollak, S. (2020). Early life stress and development: potential mechanisms for adverse outcomes. Journal Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 12(1). doi: 10.1186/s11689-020-09337-y

  2. Pollak SD. Early adversity and mechanisms of plasticity: integrating affective neuroscience with developmental approaches to psychopathology. Dev Psychopathol. 2005;17(3):735–52 Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16262990.

  3. Goldman-Rakic PS (1996) Regional and cellular fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 93:13473–13480

  4. Kumar, A., Rinwa, P., Kaur, G., & Machawal, L. (2013). Stress: Neurobiology, consequences and management. Journal Of Pharmacy And Bioallied Sciences, 5(2), 91. doi: 10.4103/0975-7406.111818

  5. The Map is not the territory - NLP Presupposition. (2014). Retrieved 4 May 2023, from https://instituteofclinicalhypnosis.com/nlp/map-is-not-the-territory-nlp/

  6. The Neuroscience of Changing Your Behavior - The Best Brain Possible. (2023). Retrieved 4 May 2023, from https://thebestbrainpossible.com/the-neuroscience-of-changing-your-behavior/


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