Wellness

5 Important Reasons To Embrace A Little Adventure

10/08/2014 08:24am ET | Updated December 6, 2017

Where would we be without a little adventure?

As Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." In other words, we grow and become our best selves when we take advantage of new adventures. If that isn't motivation enough, check out five more things you should know about embracing experience:

We rarely try something new...
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As human beings we default to the familiar (research even suggests we're wired to do so). Why would we want to seek new adventures when what we're doing is so comfortable? In fact, even when we get that little inkling that we should try something new, our minds quickly shut it down. Approximately 42 percent of Americans can't remember the last time they attempted adventure, according to a recent survey.

...but new experiences are at the top of our bucket lists.
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One of our greatest flaws as employees is that we don't always use our vacation days. We already have so much on our plates, the idea of letting our inboxes pile up for a few days seems unfathomable. Well, meet your new excuse: Your bucket list. According to the same small survey, more than half of Americans list visiting a new place as something that's a priority, followed by excursions they'd like to go on.

Sharing our adventures with others makes them more enjoyable.
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Not only is it important to seize new adventures, you should also share those experiences with others. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that those who engaged in a positive activity with a pal experienced more amplified enjoyment from the event. Skydiving, anyone?

Experiences make us happier in the long run.
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It's time to stop putting off climbing that mountain, seeing that national treasure or learning a new language. Research shows that people who partake in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive feelings than people who have fewer experiences, Time reported. Additionally, even the littlest experiences can have an impact on our joy -- moments like a spontaneous laugh with a loved one or an encounter with a friendly dog. Good memories and happy emotions? We'll take it.

New experiences can change how we view time.
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Think about it: How many times have we just "rolled through the motions" only to realize that Wow! Christmas is in a few weeks! When we embrace new adventures, we're interrupting our everyday flow -- in the best possible way. In a 2011 New Yorker profile written by Burkhard Bilger, neuroscientist David Eagleman explains how our bias for the familiar affects how fast we think time flies:

"This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older," Eagleman said -- why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

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