How an Occasional Adventure Can Make You More Mindful, Happy and Creative
In a survey conducted by Women in Adventure a couple of years ago, 99% of participants stated that the outdoors has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing.
And while you don’t necessarily need to venture outside to have an adventure, the great outdoors is the perfect stage for exciting, awe-inspiring experiences.
True, you can be adventurous in starting a new job, taking on a project you’ve never tackled before, or learning a new language. But for the purposes of this article, let’s treat adventure as a new, thrilling and exciting experience you can have exploring a new place on this good green earth.
Let’s dive right in!
How routine is your routine?
Without a doubt, you’ve read at least several articles about the benefits of establishing a routine: a morning routine, and evening routine, a workout routine, even a makeup routine. And while routines are certainly beneficial, being stuck in them too long can cause all sorts of oversaturation.
As you embrace a routine more and more, your mind will shift to autopilot, and you will lose all sense of creativity when performing certain tasks. In order to keep your mind fresh and sharp (and your mood up), you need to venture into the unknown every once in a while.
An adventure every day
If you’re looking to bring a dash of adventure into your life, the easiest first step is to add something to your everyday routine that will shake it up.
The best example is to start taking a walk every day. Whether you’re walking to work, the shops, or to a friend’s house, this simple habit will boost your mood and brainpower. If you add to it an adventurous twist, your mind will be more engaged as well.
So take a route you’ve never taken before. Buy yourself a meal at a new type of restaurant. Have a chat with a shopkeep. Try out a different mode of transportation. That way, you don’t have to venture too far, and yet you’re already being more adventurous.
A comfortable adventure
Of course, there are adventures you can take that require you to step out of your comfort zone and go someplace you’ve never been before. These will benefit you in several ways.
First of all, leaving your comfort zone makes you more productive. When you push your own boundaries, you require yourself to do more, boosting that getting things done factor.
It also teaches you to face change better. Nobody likes change, not really, but as you go through it more and more, your mind will learn to adapt, and you’ll be better equipped to cope with whatever curveball life might throw you next.
Having new experiences can boost your creativity – the more you’re exposed to newness, the better. You can only be so creative when you’re constantly stuck in the sameness of your everyday life. If you hope to acquire a new dash of inspiration and live a purpose-driven life, your mind and senses need to witness something new, to be able to process it and shake out of their own reverie.
Finally, leaving the comfort of the familiar ultimately leads to growth, whether you were looking for it in the first place or not. As you take on new things, your mind gets rewired in new and unexpected ways, improving the way you think, the way you act, and the way you perceive the world around you.
An adventure to remember
Now that you’re on board with the sense of adventure we’ve been trying to sell so far, let’s explore what kinds of adventures you can actually take.
Go hiking. Very basic, and you might say trivial, but it encompasses everything you need from an adventure: open spaces, fresh air, physical exercise, and a new experience with every single step.
Stare at a sky full of stars. Stargazing is a great way to reawaken the child inside you, and open up to a new sense of wonder. What is it like over there, on those distant moons and suns? Does anyone live there? Do they know about us?
Read about others’ adventures. A 2012 study has found that even reading about somebody else’s adventure can benefit you immensely. You will feel less stressed and more ready to take on something new in your life. Alternately, you can watch an adventure movie, but preferably of the old school kind, let’s say, Indiana Jones.
Go scuba diving. If you want to delve a bit deeper under the surface, scuba diving might be the right choice: it’s unusual, it’s thrilling, and it will certainly expose you to new sights and proverbial sounds. If you’re not yet ready to dive in, you can always read a few books on scuba diving to help you get acquainted with the sport and the world you’re about to enter.
Explore an ancient civilization. Be it in person by visiting a certain country whose history fascinates you, or simply reading up on the subject before you head out, getting to know a culture and a people who are no longer walking the earth is a great way to open up your mind to the new and untapped.
Submerge yourself in yourself. You may not think of yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices as particularly adventurous, but all of them will allow you to speak to your mind and soul in a way you have not done before, at the same time working on your body. Once you get into the flow of a movement, your mind will open up to the experience, and your happiness and creativity levels will reach new heights.
Do something you are afraid of. Let’s say, sing in front of an audience. Or talk to a perfect stranger on the bus. Touch a snake. Climb to the top of a high building. Take a homeless person out for lunch. Volunteer at a hospital.
Going on an adventure means stepping into the unknown, and leaving your comfort zone well behind. And even though the status quo sounds comfortable and cozy, it’s actually much better for you if you step outside from time to time.
In the words of the immortal Bilbo Baggins: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.