I’ve always liked that definition that insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
When we are feeling chronically down or distressed, it is often helpful to try something new to get us unstuck. I can think of 3 compelling reasons why trying something new can improve our mood when we are stuck.
1. Even a small change can reverberate like a stone thrown into a pond. It sends a ripple effect throughout our lives. New ideas and pathways can open up to us at such times. This can lead us to get some traction after spinning our wheels so that we can finally head into a new direction.
2. Another reason to try new things when you are feeling stuck is that learning things can lead to “neurogenisis” – the creation of new neurons. Neuroscientists are still determining how frequently and where new neurons are created in the adult brain. It was once thought that the adult brain did not create any new neurons, but that notion has been disproved (thankfully!) during the past decade or so. It appears that these new neurons can sometimes contribute to positive emotions.
3. Finally, we tend to ruminate on negative thoughts when we are depressed or anxious. Doing something different when we are down breaks up a cycle of negative thinking and gives our minds something new to focus upon.
So, the next time you are feeling down or anxious, try doing something new to shake things up a bit.