The value of novelty

Human beings are truly exceptional creatures. Think about those very first few days, weeks and months of a baby’s life, of your own life.

We are born into a world of extraordinary change from day one. All around us are brand-new sensations, sounds, smells, tastes, sights. Absolutely everything is unknown. The wonderful thing is that most of us just get on with all this great swathe of new experiences. We don’t make a big fuss about it. We learn to recognise things, to work out which ones we enjoy most, and to start making sense of what we are hearing and seeing. In the first year of being alive we are able to embrace change as a simple fact of life. We are all born learners.

But then, somewhere along the way, we begin to develop patterns of behaviour that become the norm, the ‘way we always do things’, and which become predictable. Somehow that cute, curious, inquisitive child that we once were is in danger of getting stuck in a rut, resisting change, and even becoming afraid of change.

Enjoying change and trying out new activities and experiences continues to be beneficial to our wellbeing throughout the whole of our lives.

There’s no need to wait for the New Year to turn over a new leaf. You can do it today.

A small amount of time spent doing something you have never done before can lead to even more opportunities and have a liberating, rejuvenating, uplifting effect.

It can be something really very simple. You don’t have to start bungee-jumping or skydiving… take a different route into work in the morning; jump off at a different bus or tube stop; as you walk down your local high street, look up and see what is above you; try something new on the menu rather than the dish you already know you like; set aside an hour or two to go and see a new film; visit an exhibition; listen to some new music – whatever it is you enjoy.

Given that all our lives seem to be frantic, one great new experience is to give yourself fifteen minutes of ‘me time’, finding somewhere quiet to sit calmly, relax and reflect. For most of us that in itself is a new experience!

Meeting new people is also an excellent, positive element for a fresh state of mind. In the information age, a few mouse clicks will open up a wealth of options and information about local activities and groups – maybe there’s something you have always thought about doing but never got around to? This is the perfect chance to finally do it. You’ll learn new skills, make more friends, and have something to talk about, blog about and, who knows, even be able to boast about! And if you keep your current friends involved with what you’re doing, and introduce them to new friends, your whole social life will thrive.

The confidence of having tried, enjoyed and mastered something new is infectious. You may find that other people start noticing and commenting on your good mood, and that at work you can use that newfound confidence to good effect.

So, that’s enough advice. Don’t leave it a moment longer. Try something new – right now!