How To Keep An Open Mind
A lot of us spend time daydreaming about things we wish we were doing in life, but most of us always find ways to rationalize why we can’t or shouldn’t do them. And the sad thing is, trying new things — whether it be traveling to a new place, learning a new skill, or just doing something out of our comfort zone — can actually be really, really good for us.
In a piece for Psychology Today, Alex Lickerman, Ph.D, said that it is often simple fear that holds us back from experiencing new things, big or small. “Studies suggest we fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one,” he said. “What if I don’t like this new dish? What if that foreign country is dangerous? If you think about it, most of the things we fear don’t actually come to pass. What’s more, we’re often unable to anticipate the good things that do occur as a result of our trying something new.” He also noted that trying new things forces us to grow and challenge our perceptions; “A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps you humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones you currently hold dear,” he said.
The bottom line is pretty simple: If we’re too afraid to get out of our comfort zones, we may never discover something that we love doing, or perhaps even worse, never learn a whole lot about ourselves. If you’re feeling stagnant, or like you want to try new things but just aren’t sure how to start, here are seven ways to be more open to new experiences that could help.
1. Understand Your Comfort Zone
2. Set Attainable Goals
3. Remember: No One Is Good At Anything At First
4. Remind Yourself It’s Good For You
If you’re having trouble getting motivated, reminding yourself that trying new things is literally good for your mind could help. In a piece for Forbes, executive coach and leadership development consultant Kristi Hedges noted that happiness and learning new things are closely tied together in our brains. “The ideal state of learning is called flow, when you lose yourself entirely in an activity,” she said. “Flow happens when you’re so engaged in what you’re doing, that you lose track of time.” So sign up for that painting class — you might find that it’s the happiest time of your whole week.
5. Let Your Curiosity Guide You
7. Put Your Anxieties In Perspective
Opening ourselves up to new things doesn’t have to be hard, and it’s usually more about us changing our perspective than it is about any major lifestyle upheavals. The next time you’re gazing out the window, wishing you could build your own coffee table or daydreaming about backpacking through Ecuador, stop to really analyze what’s stopping you — it may just be yourself!