“Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you.” — Anonymous
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with routine — from Monday to Friday, my life revolves around work, family, and the daily tasks of life. Once the weekend rolls around, however, all bets are off — I head up north to camp, go to my cottage, hike, and anything else that has to do with the great outdoors.
The word “adventure” means different things to different people. For some, they may picture traveling to the coast in order to learn how to surf; others may try their hand at geocaching in an unfamiliar environment. In essence, adventure is simply an exciting or unusual experience — something we all need.
Don’t let fear hold you back from experiencing life
Life is short — you also don’t know what’s around the next bend. As we grow and develop, our experiences shape who we are. Those who aren’t afraid to experience new things benefit in a number of ways — socially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually.
Fear tends to hold us back from seeking the things we want. We get into a routine, then it’s as if we’re wired to stay on that track. Why? Well, because it’s comfortable and “safe.” According to a number of studies, it’s been found that humans fear an unknown outcome, more than a known negative outcome. It’s as if routine allows us to have some form of control.
So many of us have adventurous bucket lists that we don’t dare to attempt. Take traveling, for example — whether people are afraid of flying or the potential dangers of a country, many do not even attempt to leave their hometown.
Adventure is about experiencing new and exciting things, opening your mind up to a whole new world of possibilities. When you reflect on your life so far, what are some of your best and most memorable experiences? Do you think of your mundane routine, or do you think of a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone to truly live a little?
Trying new things will greatly benefit your life
It’s apparent that new experiences help shape who we are, but what does the research have to say? Is there any evidence to show that a life without any adventure is potentially dangerous? Interestingly, researchers have found that you can essentially bore yourself to death.
It was found in a study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, that individuals who complain of continual boredom are actually more likely to die at a younger age, in comparison to those who seek a more exciting life. Amazingly, individuals who experience high levels of tedium were over 2.5 times more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack.
It’s also important to note the magnitude of this study, as more than 7,500 individuals were followed over the course of 25 years. Those who reported a boring life were 40 percent more likely to die by the end of the study, in comparison to those who did not report a mundane, tedious lifestyle.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to hike a mountain to benefit from new experiences. A study, published in the journal Science, found that something as simple as listening to new music can enhance mental acuity. The whole point is to challenge your brain — encourage new neurons to fire and make new neural connections.
When you place yourself in a new environment or push yourself to try new things, you gain perspective, strengthening your ability to learn and grow. Researchers suggest that if you are currently in what you consider a boring career, it’s critical that you push yourself to experience new things outside of work — learn a new skill, be spontaneous, and allow yourself to explore outside of your current comfort zone.
This is especially important when aiming to age well, as researchers have found that there are significant health benefits to trying new things. Our health is highly influenced by our emotions and views. In fact, research suggests that the optimal ratio of positive to negative emotion should be above 3:1 and under 11:1. Once this ratio is 1:1, that is when symptoms of depression and anxiety develop.
When psychologists at Winston-Salem State University looked at 30,000 event memories and 500 diaries, they found that people who experience more retain greater positive emotions, minimizing negative ones. In turn, a more positive outlook benefits overall well-being.
So, if you have always wanted to see the Northern Lights, learn how to ski, or ride a horse, there’s no time like the present. As you experience new and exciting things, you’ll find that you’ll become more self-motivated to continue this rewarding lifestyle. Sharpen your mind and enhance your life through new experiences. Try something new each day, even if it seems irrelevant — your brain will thank you.
Krista Hillis is passionate about nutrition, mental health, and sustainable practices. She has her Bachelors in Psychology and Neuroscience and is still active in her research. Studying both the body and mind, she focuses on natural health and balance. Krista enjoys writing based on her ability to inspire others and increase overall awareness.