Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Be Happier, Step 5: Trying

On January 2 I posted a list from the blog of psychologist Jeremy Dean of ten habits that science has shown make people happier. For the next several days I’m posting individually on one of these actions/states of mind in hopes that we can all learn to make them habits.

 Trying. Learning.

Continually learning and trying new things all throughout your life is one of the best ways to stay healthy and keep your mind active.

I will admit that I’m better at learning (book learning) than at trying (actually going out and doing things). Often when I’ve tried something new it has stayed there: as a try. Okay, I tried that. Not for me. (See here for my thoughts on being a “beginner”.)

Still, I believe in trying things that interest me. I tried skiing. I tried to learn to swim. I tried horseback riding and jiu jitsu. I even tried belly dancing a couple of years ago. I’m glad that I tried all these things, even if they didn’t stick. Some of them I may even go back to try again some day.

And some things I tried have stuck: crocheting, running, bowling. And all those things I tried have kept my life interesting. I know there are things I still want to try in the future, including yoga and tai chi.

Learning in itself is something I expect to keep on doing my whole life. I want to learn more history. More about art. I want to relearn French. And who knows what new interest will come my way in the future?

One of the so-called Big Five personality traits in psychology is openness to experience, and scoring high on this trait is considered a sign of being a well-adjusted and happy person (as opposed to scoring high on neuroticism, which I think I would…one reason I pay attention to staying open to possibilities!)

New opportunities to learn, new things to try, are always in our path if we’re alert for them and open to them.

What things have you tried in the past? Do you stay open to new opportunities to try and to learn?

1 comment:

  1. I like the differences you've pointed out between learning and trying. In the overall sense, I don't see myself as a "tryer". I will learn and expand on things I know, but beginning something NEW is tough for me - it equates to me with change, and I don't do change well. I think I'll adjust my attitude a bit and approach trying more as a connection with learning and see where it leads me. (PS - For the record, I thought it was AWESOME when you tried belly dancing!) :)