The Science Behind Trying New Things

The Science Behind Trying New Things

It’s not easy to break out of your regular routine. Having a steady, consistent schedule is like chilling in your favorite sweats on a lazy day; it’s comfortable. But it’s also a little predictable, and can make you miss out on fabulous life experiences. That’s why trying new things is important.

Everyone experiences a little thing called anxiety now and again. Some people experience it more than others, and some are affected by it more dramatically than others. There are a few levels of anxiety: too much anxiety, too little anxiety, optimal anxiety, and neutral anxiety. When your anxiety is neutral, you’re in a state of consistent comfort. You’re not dissatisfied, but you’re not overly excited either; you’re content. Too much anxiety can be quite overwhelming and counterproductive, and too little leaves you with a lack of motivation.

Optimal anxiety is the sweet spot. It’s when you challenge yourself just enough to turn up incredible results.

If a person has little or no anxiety, chances are they don’t have the drive to try new things, get crazy creative on a project, or even enjoy something that they always have in the past.

There’s generally four reasons why people lose motivation:

  1. Not challenged
  2. Too comfortable
  3. Bored with current circumstances
  4. Unhappy, but fail to recognize or address why

If you lack motivation, it’s time to spice things up by trying something new and different. By stepping outside of your comfort zone (neutral anxiety) now and again, you can push yourself to reach optimal anxiety. You’ll get a bit of a “rush” from what you’re trying, and suddenly life won’t be so lackluster anymore.

There’s a Chinese Proverb that goes like this, “Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.”

We’re not talking about diving here (unless that’s something you’ve always craved to try, but never had the courage to), we’re talking about trying new and unexpected things. Things that you’ve always wanted to try but either didn’t make the time or didn’t have the courage to give it a go. By pushing yourself out of anxiety-neutral, you will learn something about the experience, and more importantly, you’ll learn something about yourself.

What’s so great about trying new things? When we try something new, we challenge ourselves. We set aside our fears of the unknown and dive in. Our bodies and brains are awakened and put to use where they flourish from the attention.

Here are five ways our bodies and minds flourish from trying new things:

  1. Productivity – Comfort kills productivity. The unease of increased expectations, deadlines, or experimenting with the unknown motivates us to try harder or see what will happen next. Without that incentive, we simply do the bare minimum to get by because we lack drive and ambition.
  2. Roll with the punches – Taking risks at your own free will and challenging yourself to do things that you normally wouldn’t, will help you deal with life’s curve balls easier. By routinely pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you will not only be experiencing new things, you’ll also be preparing yourself to handle unexpected life changes with grace and confidence.
  3. Boundary-pushing – The more you push your boundaries, the easier it will be to cross them over time. They will naturally become easier and more normal to you, and leave you more willing to push further next time. What once seemed impossible will become possible, giving you a new level of comfort.
  4. Comfort zone – Trying new things, especially those that we have a fear of trying, helps us step outside of our comfort zone. Once there, we have the ability to recognize opportunities and possibilities and live out new experiences.
  5. Break up the monotony – Creating new experiences will help you break up your routine and stimulate you intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

The benefits of trying new things can be applicable in everything that you do.

Always eat at the same restaurants because you know you like what’s on the menu? Try a new one, you never know what you might discover! Bored at work? Try learning a new skill to spark your interest again. Watch the travel channel in awe of the world? Book a trip to a destination that intrigues you and have an adventure. Consistently ride the stationary bike at the gym day-in and day-out for 45 minutes? Try a group cycling class to meet new people and to challenge your endurance.

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