When was the last time that you tried something new? The last time that you stepped out of your comfort zone, acknowledged your fear, and did something that you had never done before? The last time that I stepped out of my comfort zone, I leaped out of my comfort zone, was March 3. I jumped into the Artic Waters for a Polar Plunge. My family and I were on an Antarctic Expedition. Besides walking among penguins, seal and Artic birds, we had the choice to jump into 32.5F waters. We all said “Yes!” and took the plunge.
It happened so quickly that we wished for a second opportunity to adjust from the first plunge however it was a one and done opportunity. (Seriously, look at the expression on my face – I want a do-over.)
Not only was this stepping out of my comfort zone, it was even more miraculous because I only learned to swim 10 years ago. I took swim lessons as a child however I did not conquer the skill. Because of my inability to swim, I missed out on swimming with friends and family snorkeling trips. For my 25th Wedding Anniversary, I surprised my husband by taking swim lessons. Stepping out of my comfort zone to learn to swim at the age of 45, I have been able to snorkel all over the world and compete in triathlons.
When we try something new, our brain undergoes changes to adapt to the new experience. The changes can happen in different areas of the brain, depending on the type of activity or task.
- Neuroplasticity: This is the brain’s ability to change and adapt. When we try something new, the brain creates new neural connections and strengthens existing ones to accommodate new information.
- Increased dopamine release: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation. When our brain releases dopamine during new experiences, it can motivate us to continue exploring and trying new things.
- Increased brain activity: Trying something new can increase activity in several regions of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision-making, planning and attention, and the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and learning.
- Improved cognitive function: Trying something new can also improve cognitive function by challenging the brain to learn new skills and information. This can lead to increased mental agility, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new is the gift that keeps on giving. It can be a positive and rewarding experience for the brain, promoting growth, learning and development.
What is standing between you and trying something new? New experiences can lead to personal growth. Don’t delay; take the plunge today!