Useful reminders in this article from Arthur C. Brooks for The Atlantic that neophilia (openness to new experiences) is key to improving our happiness.
First, regularly interrogate your tastes, and run experiments. One common misconception is that our preferences are set in stone and there’s no use trying to change them—especially as we age and become grumpier about new things. The data don’t support this assumption. Indeed, some studies show that older workers are more open than their younger colleagues to changes in their job responsibilities. Meanwhile, our senses of taste and smell tend to dull as we age, making us more or less attracted to certain foods.
Second, make a point of choosing curiosity over comfort. Write up a list of new experiences and ideas you’ve yet to try, and explore one per week. They don’t have to be big things. Perhaps you never read fiction, not because you don’t like to but because you are more accustomed to biographies; pick up a novel. If you usually watch an old favorite movie instead of something new, or choose the same vacation spot every year, be sure to branch out.
Third, avoid the trap of newness for its own sake. If you’re pretty neophilic, you might already be taking the suggestions above, and reaping the rewards. But you might also be prone to restlessness and instability, and look to material novelty for a quick fix. In this case, try resetting your satisfaction with a “consumption fast”: Don’t buy anything inessential for two months. Your focus will likely migrate from online shopping to more satisfying pursuits.
Source: The Happiness Benefits of Trying New Things – The Atlantic
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