Currently everyday is FULL of learning experiences (ie challenges) and I’m loving it. If you’ve moved before you know what I’m talking about. A move means a new home with all it’s quirks, new places for all your stuff, new drives to EVERYTHING, new routines, etc. Now add in the fact that we’ve moved from a house into an Airstream trailer when before this week I had never even camped before and we’re talking FULL of learning experiences.
This weekend we learned: how Charlie does in the rain (awesome); that our fire alarm works (o bacon); that we need to shut the bathroom exhaust fan when it rains (oops); that Charlie’s previous owner loved to look at themselves and REALLY REALLY didn’t want things to fall during transit (double sided tape & velcro explosion!); that we CAN fit our entire pantry in the Airstream (yay!); that the KOA locks the pool/hot tub area when it’s storming to prevent crazy people from going swimming (wah wah); that NO trash can works under our sink ( trash can mission take 3); that goo-gone takes the ink off of vinyl wallpaper (who knew?) and eats through rubber gloves; that adding personal photography really livens up a home; that aircraft 303 Rubber Seal Protectant makes opening our windows SO MUCH EASIER; that a candle and some succulents are a perfect backdrop for a rainy morning; that socks take A LONG TIME to knit when you have big feet; and that rain sounds really loud when you live inside a tin can.
Why are all these learning experiences a good thing?
learning new things is good for us
Now sometimes we’re not as excited about these learning experiences. We just want things to go smoothly and we don’t want to HAVE TO learn something new. I get it. I have days like that too. But these little (or sometimes big) challenges are good for us! Research shows that “people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences” and we already know that negativity is awful for us. Plus, studies show that couples who try new things on a regular basis have happier relationships. Steve and I should remain plenty happy for the foreseeable future at this rate! It’s no wonder when you realize that new things make us feel good. Not only that but continually trying new things will help tremendously when the unexpected happens, which we know at some point it will. We’ll have expanded our comfort zones and grown more comfortable with the unknown, making us more likely to succeed when faced with challenges.
So learning new things makes us happier, healthier, and more resilient; but not everyone is currently in the middle of a move into an Airstream and therefore doesn’t have this wide array of challenges at their finger tips. I get that. In fact many of you may feel like your life is so routine that it’s difficult to find learning experiences. So I pondered and came up with 11 ways to make sure you learn something new everyday and get the health benefits associated with it!
11 ways to learn something new everyday
- Read something enlightening. Whether your medium be books, magazines, or blogs; reading is an obvious way to learn new things and expand your horizons. I always try to read a few new blog posts a day and keep a nonfiction book on my bedside table. It’s amazing what life changing information you can glean from only a few minutes of reading a day.
- Watch something inspiring. This has become so much easier. Now you can find documentaries online, on Netflix, or at your library. Meanwhile Youtube is an incredible source of not only hilarious cat videos but inspiring life stories.
- Start a new habit. I have a friend using a habit tracker to kick start a bunch of new good habits. She’s waking up earlier, walking more, and eating better. A habit will eventually become routine but anyone who has tried to start a new one knows, in the beginning it’s tough!
- Do it yourself (instead of having someone else fix it). Has that leaky faucet been bugging you but you haven’t called the plumber? What about hanging that picture in the living room? Is there something your spouse or room mate would normally take care of that you could learn how to do? Why not try it? Youtube is an AMAZING resource for learning how to improve your basic DIY skills. Steve and I have done everything from caulking, to light installs, to installing a new kitchen sink all from watching Youtube videos. Be patient with yourself and have fun with it! You’ll be amazed what you can do.
- Cook something/eat something different. Try cooking a new recipe from a new culture. Or an old recipe with a new twist. Try buying that strange ingredient in the store and figure out what to do with it. Have your own version of Iron Chef and have someone surprise you with ingredients and a time limit. Or you can try that new restaurant you’ve had on the list. Even switching it up at your favorite restaurant and ordering something different can spark your taste buds and inspire your mind.
- Drive a different way. Or don’t drive at all. Ride your bike. Take a walk.
- Go someplace new. Explore your city. A local park. A new grocery store. An intriguing shop.
- Set a goal, perhaps something you’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time but have been putting off. In order to make that goal a reality you will need to make changes in your life. While these changes will only be new in the beginning (like starting a habit above) sometimes it can be really challenging to stick it through. Know that not only are you learning but in the end you will accomplish something!
- Play a game. Whether it’s a board game, a computer game or a card game, play! You’ll learn from the people you’re playing with. You’ll learn about the game. You’ll learn strategy. Plus you’ll have fun! Win Win!
- Get outside. Play a sport. Kick around a ball. Go for a bike ride. Plant a garden. Go for a hike. There is so much to do outdoors and you’ll almost always come up against small challenges to keep you thinking and learning along the way.
- Talk to people. One of the best ways to learn new things is to talk to people. Everyone’s life and perspective is interesting and different than our own. We have so much to learn from the people around us. For an introvert, like me, this one is tough. But I am trying to chat with new people more and more. I have so much to share and so much to learn.
Hopefully this will inspire you to get out and get learning! Embrace those challenges that pop up in life (even when it seems hard). Also stay tuned for more of our learning experiences from our Airstream Life!
Have you found other ways to inject challenges/learning experiences into your life? I’d love to hear about more in the comments below!