The Psychology Behind Happiness and Trying New Things

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Jul 7, 2020

The Psychology Behind Happiness and Trying New Things

The comfort of what's familiar and known, is a space where often many of us find ourselves sitting in for too long. It could be as simple as staying in the same job, even though you know deep down that you're capable of more, or as outlandish and risky as committing to a bungy jump on holiday.

However, sometimes forcing ourselves to take that leap of faith and try something brand new can feel like swimming against the current. It's uncomfortable and sometimes downright scary. In fact, some studies suggest that we fear an unknown outcome more than we fear a bad one.

So why on earth should we do the hard work of trying new things and chartering unknown waters?

The simple answer; it's good for you. No matter whether you're an adventure-chasing adrenaline junkie or changing your toothbrush brand is an epic feat, there are some real psychological health benefits to breaking free from your routine. Check them out below.

“You have this fear of failing and of doing something new, which is very natural. In order to do stuff that matters, you need to overcome that.” - Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google


1.  The memory of something thrilling

There's nothing better than adding a brand new experience to the memory bank that had a positive influence on your life. Each time you push the boat out and take a leap of faith, you're training your brain to remember the positive rewards associated with a new and exciting experience. The adrenaline rush, the endorphins, the sense of pride; they're all stored in your memory banks.

In fact, as reported by TIME in speaking with psychologist Rich Walker: “People who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimise negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.”

We don't just mean the 'big ticket' experiences either, something as simple as picking up a new skill, going to a party you're nervous to attend and meeting new people or even re-trying something fun you used to do as a kid can kick-start those feelings and create new memories to treasure.


2.  Unlock your courage and confidence

A huge issue that people experience throughout their adult lives is a lack of confidence. According to a study done by Dr. Joe Rubino of the BodyMind Institute, around 85% of the worlds population suffer from some form of low self esteem. The good news is, there's an easy way to improve your confidence levels and feel better about backing yourself and taking more chances.

When you try something new, even when you fail you feel a sense of pride for having tried. This can do wonders for your courage and confidence and the more 'normalised' failing at something new becomes, the less fear and discouragement you'll feel the next time you try something out.

On the other hand, if you get outside of your comfort zone and succeed, you'll experience an overwhelming feeling of confidence and prove your negative and limiting thoughts wrong. Then, you'll have the confidence to try the next challenge that comes along. It really is a win-win.


3.  Re-learn yourself and your limitations

If someone was to ask you today to list all of the things you're good at and bad at in two separate columns, chances are you'd be able to answer pretty quickly. We all have an image of ourselves and an idea of our limitations. Maybe you've always been uncoordinated since you were a child and have put 'dancing' permanently in your bad at column, or maybe you've never actually tried dancing and don't know whether it's something you're good at or not.

Trying new things is the perfect way to find out more about ourselves and where our true limitations lie. It's pretty exciting to think that when you try something new it could be a hidden talent to add to your 'good at' column, or even better, to prove yourself wrong about something you thought you'd never be able to do.

This is how people grow and change for the better. Trying something new is more often than not the catalyst for personal growth. It teaches us about ourselves, pushes our boundaries, humbles us and empowers us, all in one fell swoop. That's why it's so important to just give it a go. There are a bunch of amazing articles out there that can help you to get through the initial scary stages of giving it a go, too.


4.  Keep your mind active and in learning mode

A lot of people look back on their earlier school days as the time where they learnt the most and experimented new things. However, mental fitness doesn't just stop and start in school. It's highly important to push the boundaries as you make your way through adulthood as well;

"According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that keeping your brain active increases its vitality. Doing new things in new ways appears to help retain brain cells and connections. It may even produce new brain cells. In essence, breaking out of your routine can help keep your brain stay healthy." - Healthline

Essentially, pushing yourself and challenging your brain is a well known way to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. That could mean pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, volunteering or mentoring - whatever it is, make sure you're always moving in and out of your comfort zone to keep your mind sharp.


5.  Realise the true value of your time

You'll never truly appreciate every hour of a day, until you fill it to the brim with things that are new, exciting and make you happy. Once you get a taste for trying new things and pushing the boundaries, you'll develop a curiosity for more and really realise the true value of your time.

This is particularly useful if you find yourself sinking a lot of hours into Netflix, scrolling through social media news feeds or doing any other banal tasks for extended periods of time. Of course, everything in moderation, but trying new things is a surefire way to transform that time into an urge to dedicate every minute to something productive or learn something new.

Exciting, right?


A healthy life starts with a healthy home

At Rug Doctor, we're a big advocate of a 'healthy home, healthy mind' lifestyle. We know how much clutter can make people feel on edge and how habitual cleaning can be a really satisfying way to improve your mental health. Plus, it might an efficient way to clean might leave a little more time for trying those new things!

If you'd like to give it a try, grab out personalised cleaning guide below. It'll include all the helpful tips and trick you need, tailored to your home, habits and problem areas.