There are an infinite number of activities, hobbies, and experiences you can indulge in.
Why not have more than one? Finding a new interest can be difficult, as it is human nature to hesitate in creating new habits. Life is a series of habits, and while many habits are key components to our survival, others are not so helpful. One of our largest and strongest habits is spending our time participating in only a select few habits. In other words, we are naturally inclined to resist a subjective quantity of incoming stimuli. Our growth process is heavily affected by how we handle our own resistance to events or circumstances, and whether or not we choose to continually alter our neurochemistry.
As mentioned in other articles, being aware of our chemical balances in our body is very important to our mental state and overall quality of life. For understanding how our body chemistry correlates to our mind frame, imagine cars on roads. Every single vehicles is a neuron, and all the roads across the world are your neural pathways. This analogy works so well because as roads wear and tear, we have to repair them. As a car slowly degrades, so do our neurons. Point being, everything needs to be repaired or replaced at some time.
Each motion, every blink, muscle, and breathe we take requires neural messaging to have that action happen. The same neurons and neural pathways are required to lift your glass to your mouth, every day of your life. Some neurons are with us our whole life. While we have roughly a 100 billion neurons just in our brains, we have trillions all over our body. Each neuron is connected to about 7000 other neurons. Just as we generally like to stick to a routine, so do our neurons. The same activities have the same neurons travel along the same pathways. Not only is this backed by science, but is also shown by many writers and influential beings.
Every single fragment of stimuli corresponds to a neuron and thus neural pathway.
Have you ever thought to consider how many actual variations of color there are? Stop and look closely at a tree, the wall, a slab of concrete or the screen on your computer, and see the millions of shades of color and texture, every single difference you see and cannot see correlate to a neuron, neural pathway, and memory of that stimuli. This goes for touch, hearing, smell and taste as well.
As we grow up through life, a large part of the developmental process is due to trial and error from new stimuli. Tying our shoes is perfected after we have done it 12 dozen times. Counting and mental math, reading and writing, have all now become second nature. But they were not always so easy. As we master abilities, learning new skills and developing new passions for said skills, we are presented with new opportunities.
What do all of these tiny cells have to do with stepping out of my comfort zone?
For those of us who are already putting themselves in uncomfortable positions in order to rewire their brains, congratulations. You have figured out one of the biggest secrets life has to offer. For those of us who hesitate when offered a new food, or who like to do most everything with their dominant hand, these tips may help you find a new interest, hobby, or passion.
As a general rule of thumb, we humans tend to fear the unknown. It is innately built into all of us, same as the ability to overcome this fear. We are all born in an environment uniquely designed for each individual to reach our highest potential, but there is a choice with this. We can continually chose to stay in our bubble, or we can choose to try something new. This does not only apply for interests or hobbies, but also for problem solving. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Let’s talk about that statement for a second. In problem solving, this saying is very pertinent to new perspectives and making progress. A very simple example is hanging a picture. If you are alone, you must adjust the picture, step back, adjust, step back, etc. Of course, eventually you will find the spot that pleases your eye, but it may take several tries. If someone else adjusts the picture while you stand back and direct them, it is very easy to find the right spot in a very short time. Of course this is a minor example, but if all of life’s problems were meant to be solved with one way of thinking, there may as well only be one person.
In our personal moods and mindsets, this correlates to us being unsatisfied with our life circumstances but doing nothing to change it. We keep looking for happiness in activities that have been progressively repeated in order to derive the desired satisfaction from said experience. Over time, our bodies tire of the same routine, using the same neurons over and over again. If you are irritable and unhappy with your life circumstances, have you taken the few seconds to ask yourself why? Of course, unhappiness may be due to issues that are not able to be resolved at least in ways that we would like, such as an ill relative or a severed relationship.
How can this frustration cease to be? Even if I have found my source of unhappiness, what can be done about it?
There is a big distinction between unhappiness and mere discomfort. In my opinion, it is very beneficial to be uncomfortable, as it teaches us to have patience, determination, and serenity despite what is going on. Uncomfortable can mean trying new things, takings risks, and exploring the unknown. Go for it.
Being unhappy, on the other hand, coupled with discomfort, can be a sure way to having more unhappiness and discomfort. Being unhappy can always result from how we respond to what scenarios life has presented to us. Yes, there are moments of sadness or melancholy, that is inevitable. It is not about avoiding them. It is about how we handle these negative times. It is uncomfortable to try to be happy while sad, but that is the underlying key. Sad moments teach us, how to push through, how to grow stronger, and in turn have less sad moments.
“Life shrinks and expands on the proportion of your willingness to take risks and try new things.”-Gary Vaynerchuck
Discomfort, whether it be from a sad moment, or from trying something new, gives us the ability to not only learn to like new things, but also to learn to enjoy discomfort. Once we have accepted this discomfort, we realize that when we are uncomfortable, something new is here, or is coming, and with that a lesson. If we have the same routine, eat the same foods, stay in the same location, and essentially give our bodies the same stimuli repetitively, we are asking to be irritated or upset.
Right now, every second, you can do something you have not tried before, or rarely do. Write, draw, or brush your teeth with you non-dominant hand. Try to talk in a new accent. Go outside and lay on the ground, wherever you may be and regardless of who is around. Stretch. Check out these puzzles. Try to have the longest breath you possibly can (breathe in slowly and out slowly, I’ve gotten up to 48 seconds). These activities that we do not do very often, or even at all, are very beneficial ways to spice up our routine. For further ideas on new things to do, check out this page.
If we choose to continue only practicing skills we have become thorough in, our minds become bored of the same routine, and thus irritated due to lack of challenge. We must deliberately step outside of our comfort zone, expand our horizons, and look to enliven our perception.
If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below!