Hi! 👋 I’m Jessa.

I blog daily about life, work, and the future.

New experiences and happiness

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Have you ever wondered why, whenever you are out for a vacation, you seem to be happier? And time seems to slow down too, right?

But when it’s time to go home, it all gets nostalgic, and time seems to run in a hurry.

From The Brain-Changing Magic of New Experiences:

“What we found was that for every person, on days when they displayed greater exploration, greater “roaming entropy”, they reported feeling happier. It’s as simple as that,” said co-author Dr. Aaron Heller of the University of Miami. His team then did a more nuanced analysis in which they collected how many new places their subjects visited. “The experience of novelty, or going to places you had never been before, actually seemed to have an even larger association with positive emotion on that day.”

And here’s what’s cool.

From The Brain-Changing Magic of New Experiences:

The researchers also found a bi-directional relationship between exploration and happiness: people who are in a good mood are more motivated to explore, while people who explore more end up in a better mood. The best part? The positive feelings from experiencing something new bled into the next day, if not the day after that.

So the next time you’re thinking about whether the idea of going out to explore new places and experiences is worth it, I hope you consider that it is so.

But since the pandemic limited most of us to do this, here’s Dr. Laurie Santos from The Brain-Changing Magic of New Experiences:

“The simple act of being grateful for the things that you have means that you’re paying attention to the features of them,” Santos said. “I’ve, in some sense, used gratitude to bring novelty to an experience that was boring a few seconds ago: when you’re thinking gratefully, it can all of a sudden seem new.”

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