It is all about taking a step outside of your usual comfort zone and giving yourself a bit of a challenge or two. I think the suggestions mentioned are great and I may even be employing a few of them in the next short while. Here are the ones that particularly struck me:
– Think for 30 minutes a day about one subject exclusively. Start with five minutes.
– Talk for 15 minutes a day without using I, me, my, mine.
– Set yourself twelve tasks at random: e.g., go twenty miles from home using ordinary conveyance; go 12 hours without food; go eat a meal in the unlikeliest place you can find; say nothing all day except in answer to questions; stay up all night and work.
– From time to time, give yourself a day when you answer “yes” to any reasonable request.
As part of this post there is a link to another Happiness Project post called Happiness and the joy of undertaking a big project. There is a particular passage in this post that struck a very big chord for me.
Studies show that novelty and challenge—though they can make us uncomfortable, frustrated, uneasy, etc.—are keys to happiness. People who have novel experiences are happier than those who stay in a rut. Also, people are very sensitive to change in their circumstances, whether in a positive or negative direction. Therefore, a feeling of progress, improvement, and learning makes us happier.
This is just so true, for me. I have always enjoyed novel experiences. I have always enjoyed learning new things. It is partly my monkey mind and partly an inbuilt need for novelty. It is also why, occasionally, I find being a stay-at-home Mum to be a bit of a mental challenge. I love my kids to bits, but the repetitious nature of living with small ones can be a bit wearing and tearing on those of us who have been used to living a relatively un-rut-like existence for nearly all of our adult lives.
My goal, then, seems to be how to re-introduce that novelty factor. More Artist Dates are required then? Sadly my idea of novelty tends to include the idea of travel, travel and more travel. Not budget friendly, sadly.
Fine. I will have to come up with some novelty inducing things to do until that great big multi-million dollar Lotto win shows it’s face then. Darn. That requires creativity and some actual thought. Oh dear. I see another stint of studying in my near future. That certainly will involve novelty and learning, but is not quite what I had in mind.