It might seem paradoxical, but if you’re feeling a bit bleh or like your sense of purpose needs an update, one of the best ways to get you going again is to try something new. Crazy, I know. But it’s those very times when you’re lacking focus and motivation, and feel like you have nothing left to give, when you truly need to kick yourself into a different gear.
Think about the last time you applied for a new job. You wanted to be at your best to pitch yourself, but was something holding you back? It could have been a lack of energy: you were leaving your old job because you’d already had enough and were no longer the best version of you.
How does trying something new help, you ask? You know that rush of satisfaction you get when you achieve a goal, or check something off your to-do list? It’s also known as a dopamine hit and it’s long been associated with pleasure; when you do something nice, like eat chocolate, your dopamine levels rise and your mood improves. But research suggests that dopamine doesn’t just respond to rewards – it also encourages us to seek them. Once our brain knows that certain things lead to pleasure, it releases dopamine to motivate us to obtain that reward. Similarly, when we encounter something novel or new, our brain sees it as a potential for reward, so again releases those feel-good chemicals. When pleasure is the expected outcome, our brains are motivated to put in the mental effort to achieve the task at hand. It’s a motivation, satisfaction and energy booster all in one.
So even though us grown-ups are mostly creatures of habit, consider trying one (or all) of these strategies to get your mojo back and those feel-good chemicals flowing. It’s amazing how the world around us changes when we change too.
- Find something that makes you angry and do something about it. Being part of a community with a common cause can have a positive effect on your mental health and emotional well-being – providing a sense of belonging and social connectedness. Taking action might energise you. And if you’re not angry enough to do something about it, let it go.
- Mentor someone. Use your greatest strengths to support someone else’s growth. You stand to benefit as well, with evidence showing that helping others can benefit your own mental health and wellbeing.
- Work out your non-negotiables for important relationships. It’s often people who can take what we’ve got left in the tank.
- Allocate time every week to caring for your environment. It sounds so simple, but feeling like you are part of something bigger than you is so good. Imagine if we all spent 15 minutes each week getting rid of plastic in our home, or cleaning up at the local beach.
- Find your version of stillness and do that daily. Don’t get stuck in what mediation is ‘meant’ to be. Just like your body needs stillness to heal and recover, so does your brain. Studies show that relaxation therapies like yoga and mindfulness meditation are effective tools for reducing stress.
- Be a lifelong learner. Well, of course a coach is going to say this. Find something you’ve always been interested in, or something that you’ve never heard of, and immerse yourself in a YouTube clip, book, podcast or TED Talk. Your brain will thank you for it.
Speaking of TED Talks, check out this one, which is all about turning off your brain’s autopilot and stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve a rewarding life. And if you’re really wanting to shake things up, why not take this challenge to try something new for 30 days? That’s sure to dust off some cobwebs!
- From your Coach Place team