Out New Experiences
Life is full of new and exciting things, right? Everyday is a new adventure! But okay, not really. We're not living some Eat, Pray, Love existence in perpetuity. We're living our lives, going to work, paying our bills, doing our laundry. At the end of a hard day, ordering takeout from your regular spot and firing up that movie you've seen a dozen times is comforting. It's familiar. That's okay.
But there's a real benefit to stepping out of your comfort zone. In fact, visiting new places, trying things for the first time and socializing with people whom we've never spoken to before actually makes us happier and healthier. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable and cringy at times. Think about the last trip you took. Inevitably, there were things out of your control—you didn't know where to eat, you weren't sure what was in that shop, you'd never snorkeled before. But you said, “what the hell, why not?” And now you're glad you did, right?
That's because there's a genuine connection between novelty and happiness, says Dr. Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist who teaches Psychology and the Good Life, one of the most popular courses at Yale. “Novel stimuli tend to activate regions of our brain that are associated with rewards,” she recently told GQ. But this about more than just the dopamine rush. “Novel things also capture our attention ... you're more likely to notice things and be present—there's lots of evidence that simply being more present can improve our mood and happiness.”
Put another way, your brain is actually supercharged by new experiences. According to research by Harvard Medical School, when you feel tired of living, overwhelmed by every day chores, and confused about the next step, do something new. You can even do something old in a new way. You'll quickly get a feeling of accomplishment and delight simply from the novelty of it. Stop giving yourself excuses to settle for mediocre in your life. Need a little more convincing? Here are five other proven reasons.
It Gives Youan Edge
Predictability is the kryptonite for any interesting person. One of the most important things that you can do for your brain is to put it in novel situations, and provide it with challenges. New experiences can be all you need to open doors of opportunities before you. Introduce yourself to your boss's boss, aim higher, maybe take a course to boost your career. You never know where your next chance for advancement comes from.
You’ll CreateRewarding Memories
Novelty makes us more resilient and the more you understand that trying new things isn't all that scary, you'll become even more adventurous. That's the key to making some satisfying memories. Why does that matter? Well, memories are like bank deposits. First you make them, then you store them, so you can reflect upon them in the future.
You’ll MeetNew People
The most interesting people have a diverse group of friends and colleagues. Don't limit yourself. Introduce yourself and learn something new about someone. Whether it's in person or online (slide into those DMs with confidence), when you expand your social network, you're opening up a slew of new opportunities that no doubt will help you grow your knowledge and establish your spot in the world.
It Humbles You
Pride is another big hindrance to trying new things. The fear of being vulnerable and possibly failing is a humbling effect. No matter your wealth, strength or connections, you're always a beginner when you try new things. But it teaches you to listen, to be patient and not to give up. In the end, you emerge with new life lessons. And these stories can become valuable fodder to help you connect with others.
You GetMore “Time”
We talked about this before, but the perception of time moving at a leisurely pace in childhood, and then quickening as we become adults, is a common experience. And it's all tied to trying new things and avoiding predictability and routine experiences. Shake things up and jump into new adventures and you'll not only feel like you're getting more time back, but your life will feel richer with all the new “footage” you've amassed.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Neale Donald Walsch