Novelty, and the willingness to try new things, is good for body and mind. While we might say we are perfectly happy sticking to our well versed and predictable patterns of behaviour, science tells us we might want to re-think that.
We now know that besides challenging our brain by doing activities like puzzles or learning a new language, it’s beneficial to move our bodies. It helps to ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia. By combining novelty and movement, we are doubling up on the benefits to both.
So what, you say! You’re only 30 and that’s a long way down the pike for you! That may well be true, but then there is the fun factor. Yeah, fun.
Why do you think people choose to go on roller coasters or travel or try a new restaurant? Because despite the grumblings about not liking change, we crave it. A little dash of the unknown, a little spice of excitement gets our proverbial juices flowing.
As you know, if you’ve been reading along in this blog for awhile, I’ve been challenging myself to try and get out of my comfort zone. Embrace novelty and try a few new things. Say yes to a new adventure and along the way, meet new people.
Novelty Under a Moonlit Sky
A few weekends ago I did just that, heading out for a moonlight bike ride. My partner and I joined a dozen or so other intrepid cyclists and hit the city streets under a full moon. It got really interesting when we went off the well- lit streets and onto the unlit bike paths. Especially since they were all foreign to me. Nothing like traveling in the dark.
There were only a couple of times I might have said a quiet “shit” when rounding a turn to find another turn. We were going a pretty good clip and while my headlight was on, I quickly concluded that a stronger light was needed.
Nevertheless, we did the trip, following the cyclists ahead of us and from time to time, stopping for a drink of water and a view of the city.
We went about 25 kms, when all was said and done. Needless to say, I slept well.
I’m also happy to report that my body took kindly to the exercise, which is encouraging. It means more forays are possible.
A night bike ride might not be the most exciting thing you have done, nor does it need to be. That’s not what we’re looking for here. What I am encouraging, is that you consider some new possibilities in your life.
By choosing a novel experience you have to be fully present
The key to finding enjoyment, to putting a spring in your step and a new conversational tidbit to share, is by doing something that stretches you out of the everyday routine. Something that requires all your attention and allows you to open up fully, instead of hanging back at the edges.
This is as true at work, as it is in our personal lives.
Look around at your workplace, talk to your colleagues and see what projects they have going on. Investigate where you might be able to try your hand at something, just for the fun of it.
When we start asking questions, seek the unknown and novel, it is surprising what is hidden out in plain sight.
You don’t have to travel abroad. As it turns out, there are surprising opportunities right where you live, you only need look for them. A quick look in the paper shows listings for a pop up music jam, fall fairs and historical tours. It’s not what you do, but that you do it.
I’d love to hear what you are challenging yourself with and even what you learned about yourself.
And oh yes, please feel free to share this on your social media accounts if you think you might know some others who need to stir things up a bit.
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til the next time, may you keep finding new ways to make your life healthier and happier, one day at a time.