One reason to love traveling is because it shakes up your routines and almost forces you to experience new things. At home, it’s easy to get into the groove of habits; you can spend days, weeks, and months inside your comfort zone. Take a trip, and you almost immediately find yourself eating different foods, talking to new people, and questioning whether it really is a better life choice to take a daily afternoon siesta.
But you don’t need to go on a trip to have novel experiences. Here are the top reasons why it’s important to prioritize novelty—especially when you’re at home.
New experiences makes you feel good.
Novel experiences trigger dopamine, the same feel-good neurotransmitter triggered by exercise, food, and sex. And, since dopamine is connected with motivation, experiencing novelty can spur you on to seek out more new experiences.
Even more importantly, seeking out new experiences is also linked to longer-term satisfaction. In a decade-long study, novelty-seeking was one of three personality traits that predicted the best health, most friends, fewest emotional problems, and greatest overall life satisfaction.
It makes you smarter.
Studies suggest that the plasticity of your brain (the ability to create new neural connections) increases with new experiences. That means simply experiencing something novel heightens your brain’s ability to learn new concepts and facts.
Novelty stops life from rushing by.
People often warn that, as you age, life rushes by faster and faster. But does it have to be that way?
As neuroscientist David Eagleman explains, “The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.”
In other words, when we get too accustomed to our surroundings, we stop paying attention. And when we stop paying attention, days rush by without us even noticing. If you want time to seem slower? Do something new and memorable!
Novelty helps you stay curious (and humble).
When you try something new, you might find a new favorite thing. Or, you might swear to never do it again. But either way, you’ve experienced a healthy reminder that you aren’t yet an expert on everything. There are entire facets of the world that you can learn about. And that’s good news.
Ready to give your brain the gift of novelty? Join us in making a commitment to new things this November! Best of all, you don’t need to fly off to Chile or quit your job to get the brain benefits, you can simply visit a new neighborhood, type text messages in landscape mode, or take a cooking class. As long as it’s new, your brain will be more engaged and effective throughout the day.
Whether you try something new daily, weekly, or just once this month, I’m almost sure that you’ll be happy you did. As for me, I’ll be attempting to try something new every day of November. At the end of the month, I’ll report back on my results.
Looking for ideas about interesting novel things to try? Check out this list of ideas for Novelty November!