Something I have been thinking about recently is how important it is to shake things up in our daily lives. It’s easy to get into a monotonous routine, even if it is one we like a great deal. In order to really grow and stretch beyond what we think we are capable of we need to switch it up from time to time. If we want to have open minds we must step outside of our comfort zone and try new things.
Here are five activities you can do that will challenge you in positive ways and help to shake things up:
Try something new.
This one is huge. There is much research that proves by trying new things we stimulate our brains and this enables us to keep our minds sharp as we age. Play a new instrument, do the NYT crossword puzzles, sign up for that foreign language class you’ve been wanting to take. Whatever it is, jump in and don’t be afraid to not get it/do it perfectly the first go around.
Learn about other spiritual practices.
Lately I have been having a lot of fun checking out different temples and meditation centers around Los Angeles. It is endlessly fascinating to me how different things can seem at first but how almost everyone has a similar message. While I love my personal spiritual practice seeing what else is out there and meeting new people along the way has taught me a great deal. Check out a new temple, church, or mosque when you have a chance—there is much to be gained.
Learn a new exercise or sport.
Confession time, I actually grew up playing golf but in all fairness I haven’t seriously been to a driving range in years over a decade. The photo above is from the range near my house. An old friend and I met there earlier in the week. We had a great time. It was much more difficult than I remembered and takes such concentration – golf is a great sport for meditators and yogis! I have decided to add golf to the activity roster for the summer and am looking forward to my first game. Learning to use my body in a new way will no doubt enhance my other physical activities. I know I will learn new things about myself in the process as well.
Take a 24 hour Internet detox.
Scary I know. Difficult yes. I have taken several of these in the last couple of months and they have done wonders for me. We are so connected and addicted to the internet, giving ourselves a break is one of the best things we can do. Pick up a book! Go for an evening walk! See a friend in person instead of reading about them on Facebook! Each time I take an internet detox I feel refreshed and more focused when I get back online. It’s so easy to get lost in the world wide web, take a full 24 hours to live in the real world.
Be of service in your community.
I am sure we all know how good we feel when we help other people or non-profits we care about. Helping others has been shown to reduce stress and it gives a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives. Do a little research and find out about volunteer opportunities in your area. Maybe you could plant some local gardens, clean a park, visit the elderly at a nursing home. Whatever it is pick something and commit to it. Be mindful of what you can give and don’t stress out if you are very busy at the moment. Maybe you can take in the trash cans in your apartment building for the next month. Stay open and willing and opportunities will present themselves.