Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Novelty as Pleasure

I recently saw something on TV, where research was showing that the brain actually interprets novelty as pleasure. If you enjoy taking a walk, you will enjoy it more if you are not always walking the same path. If you enjoy going out for dinner, doing so with different people or going to different places will be more pleasurable. This is an interesting concept.

I tend to be a fairly habitual person but I do notice that I also tend to get sick of doing the same thing over and over. I love playing boggle with my husband but if we play too frequently I will get so sick of it that I won't want to play for months. I guess I never gave it much thought but I suppose I ought to.

Since the onset of chronic pain has forced me out of doing many of the things I used to do I think I have gotten myself into even more of a rut. In the past I have avoided doing many things. More recently I have learned that I can't entirely avoid everything and have made real strides to be more active and take more chances. But still my initial reaction to suggestions is no, I can't or I don't want to. Usually, if I do it anyway, I wind up enjoying myself and being glad I rallied.

Perhaps I should put more effort into planning ahead to do something different at least 4 times a month. We live in a new area and there is so much here to explore. It should be easy to find things to do. Today I'll spend some time making a list of things we can do.

Even as I'm writing about doing this, I'm getting excited about having some new experiences and exploring the St Louis area. Do you have a favorite thing to do? Are you more habitual or spontaneous?


  1. YES YES YES! I'm finding that I fight off depression and anxiety much more easily and am more confident when I try new things consistently. And it doesn't have to be anything big, grab that weird vegetable at the market and google recipes for it, or find a new park or museum to visit. And the more new things I've tried, the easier it's gotten to say yes to the unfamiliar.

    Of course, I still carefully consider whether I'll have an escape route, somewhere to sit down, if it'll be loud or bright and how crowded the situation might be. We may be adventurous, but never reckless. :)

  2. I they to tell myself I am going to try more, new things...but it rarely happens. I find when I have the available time, I want to rest. I find myself doing the exact same routine all the time. Blah!

  3. I tend to become a bit of a hermit if I don't force myself to seek out fun, non-work-related activities. Still, when I do manage to go out and do something fun and interesting, I'm always glad afterward that I did it.