Do you remember being 18 and feeling like your possibilities were limitless? Somewhere along the line, we give up that excited ‘anything can happen’ attitude and accept a smaller space because it seems more predictable, i.e. safer. I think it happens so slowly that we do not even realize it. That smaller space is called your comfort zone – and, unfortunately, like other things, it tends to shrink as you get older.
What have you done lately to step outside of your comfort zone? What could you do today to break your usual routine? It is important to surprise yourself once in a while, to literally and figuratively take a new path. All kinds of great things go on in your brain when it is confronted with something new. Learning is life force.
Here are a few ideas:
- If you do not usually do daily puzzles, like crosswords or Sudoku, try it. Nobody says you have to be great at it. Do as much as you can.
- If you are used to doing the same kind of puzzle every day, switch to something new or go back and forth. Buy one of those jumbo mixed puzzle books.
- If you take a walk each day, vary your route. Discover new territory.
- If you do not usually watch educational television, start adding a program or two each week on a topic you would not normally select. You may be surprised to find yourself developing new interests.
- Try playing a new musical instrument. You can start with something as small as a thumb harp or some homemade drumsticks. Rhythm is like candy to the brain. Go to a music store and wander around until you find something that calls to you. (I am feeling pulled by the accordion of all things.)
- Try a new form of art or craft. Don’t worry about the end product. Just create something that comes directly from your imagination. Try Joanne’s Fabrics for craft ideas or Artist & Display for art supplies.
- Find a group that interests you on www.meetup.com. I have attended some of the movie lovers events. It’s a great way to get out and do something with new people.
- Take a class at your local recreation department, tech school, college or senior center.
This might sound like a lot of work – and it is, in the beginning. Your Comfort Zone will fight hard to keep you in its grip. Resist. The end result will be a return of your “vitality”, your mental vigor, the feeling of a purposeful existence — and that ‘anything can happen’ feeling that made youth so magical.
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