Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
My husband and I were talking about our individual daily routines. Every day, we do the same thing: wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed. While we both enjoy the structure of our daily routines, we could really use some excitement in our lives! We talked about some things we’ve always wanted to do but have been too afraid to try, such as taking dancing lessons (me) and learning to rock-climb (him). So, we got online, found some places that offer these activities, and we start our new hobbies next week! I’m proud of us for opening up and trying something new. Even if we fail, we’ve tried! Most importantly, it’s given us the courage to keep putting ourselves out there!
Living a structured life lets you create a groove that feels like second nature. Sometimes though, routines can become boring and uninspiring. Have you found that going to work, cleaning the house, running errands, etc. on a daily basis is putting you in a stupor? If so, we think it just may be time for you to try something new. If you have no idea what that could be or why you should try it, then our licensed psychologists and therapists in Tampa would like to offer some pointers.
What You Can Do
Trying something new depends on what you find interesting and enjoyable, or what you think you might find interesting. If you’re a bookworm, stop by your local library to see if any events are going on. You can also do some internet sleuthing to find local book clubs, opening the opportunity to meet new people with a similar interest.
If you’re religious, search for events happening at your place of worship. If you love animals, volunteer at an animal shelter or animal-focused sporting event. There are countless activities out there. All it takes is some searching and inquisitiveness. You don’t have to do it alone either. Invite a family member or a friend to tag along, too!
Why You Should Do It
Feeling uneasy about trying something new or doing something you’re already familiar with differently is normal. After all, you’re heading into unfamiliar territory. According to Alex Lickerman, MD, there are four important things to remind yourself of when trying new things:
- It Requires Courage – Courage itself is a benefit, capable of engulfing everything around it. How great is it to be able to tap into this benefit by simply trying something new?
- It’s Very Possible That You’ll Discover Joy – That new thing you’re on the cusp of trying is completely unknown right now. However, it could potentially mean finding a new hobby, a new trade, or making a new friend!
- It Keeps Boredom at Bay – Boredom is not a good feeling. Challenging yourself with a new experience, even one you aren’t exactly eager to try, will keep you from the dreaded sense of being bored.
- It Keeps You Open to New Ideas – A fixed routine doesn’t breed growth because you already know what comes next. Yet, by throwing yourself into new experiences and situations, you keep yourself humble and “open to new ideas,” some of which may leave you wanting more!
A Lesson in Fear
In a previous blog, we discussed the act of riding out your fears, which incidentally includes a video clip of a fall from a horse. Fear is an interesting emotion because it keeps you from trying new things. For example, if you’re not fond of being in new situations where social interactions are common because you tried it once in the past and it turned into a disaster, then fear can keep you from ever repeating something similar.
Like I mentioned in that blog, imagine your brain having two parts: the “thinking” part and the “feeling” part. Anxiety has a connection to the feeling part, and it learns from what happened in the past. If you avoid situations or things that you “think” are scary because of that one bad experience, even if there is no guarantee that such an instance will repeat itself, your brain will become tricked that it should be feared anyway.
The best way to handle this situation is to just do it anyway. This way, you can actually “retrain” your brain into thinking that it’s no big deal and you can handle it.
NOTE: This should not apply to anything remotely dangerous to your health!
Rice Psychology Group in Tampa
At Rice Psychology Group, we truly believe that trying new things will bring new experiences! Yes, they might not always work out, but at least you tried! Even if you don’t know how ready you are to do it, know that we’re here to sit with you and listen to your thoughts. Visit us in Tampa today for more information about how we can help.