July 7, 2021
Most of us like a routine. Get up. Drink Coffee. Fire up the laptop. Routines are good. Comforting and comfortable.
But, oh, those new experiences! Tasting new food. Sipping a new cocktail. Traveling someplace we've never been before. Those experiences can light up your brain's pleasure centers like nobody's business.
"There is a connection between novelty and happiness," according to Dr. Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist who teaches at Yale University. "Novel stimuli tend to activate regions of our brain that are associated with rewards."
And novel things capture our attention better, as well. With something new, one is more likely to notice things and be present. And, as most of us know, being present (and mindful) can improve our moods and elevate our happiness levels.
In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers tracked humans (willing participants, of course) with their phones as they moved about over the course of their day (pre-COVID, of course) and checked in with them via text about the participants' moods. The researchers found a correlation linking more positive emotions when the subjects visited new places outside of their normal day-to-day walkabout. They also discovered that the relationship between good moods and exploration worked both ways. When the participant was happy, they were more likely to explore, and when they were exploring new territory, they were more likely to be happy.
>Novelty Makes Us Resilient
The neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman has researched how novel experiences affect our brains. Our brains are constantly degenerating, he says. And as we get older, we try to make things to make things more predictable, more comfortable. But one of the most important things that one can do for the brain is giving it new challenges. Learning new things builds new neural pathways in the brain and helps keep it in good working order. (At Biotica Healthcare Marketing, we know a thing or three about new ideas.)
So, plan a trip to somewhere new. Or install an app on your phone to help you learn a new language. Or try an exotic cuisine that you've never had before. And remember, you're feeding your brain as well as your body. Bon Appetit!