I receive this cute little newsletter from TheNest.com (a cutesy post-wedding website) that gives tips for relationships, features newlyweds and a lot of other stuff. In one article (7/15/09) about keeping the flame alive in your relationship, there was a study quoted from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It was about doing activities that were highly exciting and moderately comfortable and how psychologists found that there was much more satisfaction in that than doing activities that were highly pleasant and moderately exciting.
This article was timely for me, as I was starting to get sick of the same ole' routine every night and weekend. I truly think that I am a person who needs variety, after all, it is the spice of life right?
Today, I read on the Happiness Project blog that novelty and challenge bring happiness. I think the stars have aligned and a theme is emerging from all of this! Are people stuck in doing boring things that they are comfortable with?
Take that Challenge
I started to realize that I love challenges when Mike and I renovated our kitchen last Spring. Through all the hard work and frustration, I realized that I felt smart, independent and alive. This made me really happy. I love coming home to my kitchen, not only because it looks so much better, but because it reminds me of the challenge I overcame.
I'm not suggesting going home tonight and ripping your kitchen apart, but even switching up the routine night after night can be really stimulating. Just last Tuesday I went to a book signing for a bread book (Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day) that my girlfriend gave to me (she is the book queen: her blog is bookish bent). It was awkward for me to go and ask questions to these people who seemed like they are bread god's, but it was fascinating to see them in real life and talk to them about their intentions. It brought a depth to the book that I wouldn't have had before. And it has pretty signatures in it now too : ) However, I sacrificed staying in my cozy home on a cold dark night, I even sacrificed eating dinner at the normal time. But I felt so awake and refreshed after going. I learned something new.
I believe that learning is so important to our happiness. Part of learning is breaking out of what we are used to and experiencing something new. Most of us learn when we are challenged.
Something to consider though, when planning your next exciting adventure, or many little adventures, is to make sure you have time to decompress. Especially if you are planning a big event. After the kitchen, I needed to not do any home projects for at least 3 months. Even though I am desperate to finish the basement, I know that I needed to brew some more energy before jumping into that project.
So have you been thinking about something that you want to do, that you haven’t before? Go for it! Your life satisfaction index will get a nice boost.