As a human being (as I imagine, dear reader, you are), I'm sure you're familiar with the rush of getting that shiny new something. Whether it's a new shampoo or a new puppy, experiencing something novel lights up the pleasure centres in our brain and gives us a rush of dopamine. Studies have found that when shown novel images, the areas of the brain associated with memory and learning lit up, along with a rush of those happy hormones.
Our human desire to seek out new experiences comes from the desire to learn and better adapt to situations. From an evolutionary standpoint, the more situations you experienced and explored, the more you learned about what to do to adapt to those situations, and thus, the greater your odds of survival were.
Novelty-seeking behaviours have often carried a negative connotation and been seen as a marker of a morally corrupt society — we scroll and spend and consume and nothing is ever enough. However, research has shown that the desire for new experiences or 'neophilia' is associated with leading a happier, healthier life. Rather than seeing this pleasure-seeking behaviour as a negative thing, embracing this as a lifestyle can help us become more creative, well-rounded, and less shiddy people.
Sometimes seeking out novel experiences may take a little push. While it feels good to experience something new, we have another very human tendency of being creatures of habit. It's easy to get stuck in our day-to-day routines and be apprehensive about the unknown, but sometimes all it takes is a little walk around a part of town you've never been to before or a bike ride around a route you don't usually take. There's a reason the phrase “a little change of scenery” is so common!
Whether it's learning to knit or trying a new restaurant, I implore you to commit to yourself that you'll add something new to your routine every once in a while. Variety is the spice of…yeah, yeah, you get the gist.
Remember to be less shiddy to others, our planet, and yourself.