When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I love this quote, because it reminds me that I need to be learning new things and experiencing new adventures. “Exploring the side roads” along this journey saves me from the boredom of being stuck in a rut, it brings anticipation and excitement to every day, and it makes me a much more interesting person to be around. Living out my true purpose with all the new adventures it brings has introduced me to a life I never even imagined.
This week, I read something “new” about keeping my brain energized by doing new things. Neuroscientists have found that the brain is hardwired to enjoy novelty and challenge. New experiences and challenges stimulate the brain to produce dopamine as you go into problem-solving mode. Dopamine is essential for maintaining a healthy brain, and it has been proven that major depression is associated with a state of reduced dopamine transmission. It affects movement, motivation and the feeling of pleasure, and controls the flow of information to other parts of the brain. Without dopamine, we experience a decline in memory, cognitive functions and attention. Increased dopamine acts like adrenalin, giving you that “high” feeling of exhilaration. Dopamine levels are depleted by stress, lack of activity and poor nutrition.
What does all this mean? A stimulated brain is a happy brain! Introducing new activities into your life is essential for mental and physical health, and can bring you joy and enthusiasm that lights up your soul. Here are a few things to inspire you:
- Try out a new restaurant
- Visit a new networking group to meet new people
- Start a new hobby like painting, tennis or scrapbooking
- Learn a new language
- Take a trip to a new destination, for a day or a month!
- Mentor someone who needs your guidance
- Enroll in a class just for fun
- Resurrect old dreams that you put on the back burner, thinking “someday, when I have time, I will….”
Over the past two years, the more new things I explore, the more I have discovered about this amazing world I live in. I have created a truly meaningful and magnificent life by getting out from behind my computer in my self-limiting role as a website creator. I have taken risks, experienced potholes and speed bumps, and had an exhilarating ride with some inspiring women as my navigators. Now I know why, scientifically speaking, that I have had such immense joy with all this “newness” in my life. And I also know that I am feeding my physical health as well.
So what new thing will you do this week? How will you continually have fresh and challenging activities in your life that keep you happy and healthy? Be ready to say “I just did!” when someone asks you When is the last time you did something for the first time?
2012 Texas Conference for Women speaker Susan Tolles is an expert in midlife reinventions who inspires and equips women around the world to flourish inside and out. Based on her own reinvention when she was an empty-nester over 50, Tolles created her Powerful Me™ Program to help other women live in tune with their core passions and unique gifts, creating a future filled with joy and enthusiasm doing the things they love.