Monday May 3, 2021

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8443144 and to watch a video version, please click here: https://youtu.be/ubZUme_JwkM]

“Novelty,” is a wonderful word with an even more wonderful gift in store for us. It’s based on the Old French, “novelete,” meaning, “innovation,” and, “newness,” and, “new fashion.”

It also means something unusual or new… and it means good news for mental wellbeing. Why? Because our prefrontal cortex in the brain craves novelty.

I’m a bit torn with this blog in that there are way more serious problems going on in the world at the moment, way more serious problems than… boredom. But boredom is an enemy of good mental health. Whilst it may seem like a First World Problem, it’s a worldwide Human problem. Our psychological wellbeing is a bit fussy. It demands stability AND novelty! Too much novelty and we quickly feel overwhelmed. Too much boredom and our motivation dissipates, and our energy disappears.

The issue for me is that I haven’t felt ‘excited’ for way over a year! I’ve been creative, I’ve been interested, some really nice things have happened… but there’s been no excitement. Excitement is energy for me. Is it the same for you?

Thinking about this, I wondered what stimulates ‘excitement’ for most of us. Novelty is high on what triggers excitement. Then, the other night, we had an experience that made everything a lot clearer. We’ve got a wildlife camera that captures some of the adventures our local hedgehogs get up to in the dark. This is interesting.

The other evening, I put the camera out late and disturbed one of the hedgehogs who was already eating. Popping the camera down, I withdrew enough for the hedgehog to relax and continue with its activities. Watching the hedgehog ‘live’ was exciting! Watching the hedgehogs on camera is only interesting. You had to be there!

I realise that excitement is ‘now’ – in the present. It’s a ‘live’ experience. It’s not past and it’s not often future. And excitement requires ‘being there’ – ideally in an engaged state participating in the events. I say it is not often future, but there is an exception – anticipation. Anticipation is an important aspect of excitement. The journey to the holiday can be exciting too. The quiet before the curtains open on a show or concert can be exciting.

You know all this. Why am I mentioning it?

I believe pursuing some excitement will do you and me the power of good over the coming weeks. I was curious about what you get excited about and was keen to stir us all up to actively pursuing what we find exciting soon.

So, spill the beans! What counts as ‘exciting’ in your life? When are you next expecting to enjoy that excitement? For me, it needs to be a novelty. New food. New locations. New friends. New customers. New clothes (though not the Emperor’s!).

A Moodscope member.

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