Novelty can be a useful tool for making you feel more invigorated and alive in your daily moments. When you do something new or different in your life, your brain sits up and takes notice. It is faced with something new to learn and thrown new information to categorize - this takes energy and focus from your grey matter rather than sitting idly in a default 'energy saving' mode.
At the same time, with novelty comes a sense of the unknown and with it the potential for danger. If you explore a rain forest that you have never been to before, you cannot guarantee a drop-bear isn't going to ambush you. Again, your brain needs to be more alert and present. This results in the release of hormones like norepinephrine and dopamine which are associated with attention and learning. Not quite to ‘fight or flight’ extents, but just enough to make you keenly aware of your surroundings and more in the zone.
To feel alive then, try to find a rich and novel environment where you can explore and try new things. This can be a challenge in modern society where our lives can be dictated by routines with work and families. Many of us don't have the option to spend our time skiing down the slopes or white water rafting through the rapids. Instead then, we need to look for ways to get that novelty, that excitement and that danger in our regular lives.
Be creative and keep it simple - try a different route on your next run and explore new parts of your neighborhood, visit a new bush walking trail on the weekend, take more social risks (like starting a conversation with someone new) that bring butterflies and get your heart racing, or try getting off the bus a stop early to increase the new stimuli you experience daily.
By taking the time to regularly challenge and stimulate your mind with novel things that you find exciting, you stand to experience huge benefits in your mental health.
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