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  • Writer's pictureJeanette Miura

3 Healthy Reasons to Say "YES" to New Experiences

About 5 months ago an independent director contacted James after listening to his songs and music on a musician/band website. This director asked James if he would be willing to sing on a soundtrack for a film he was working on called The Match-Stick Flame 2, an action thriller. James readily agreed even though he wasn't sure of all the details. I was a little surprised that he agreed so quickly. If it had been me, I would have to think for a few days and really understand the process before agreeing to anything. I'm an overthinking planner, not a spontaneous jumper, and I love that James is my opposite in this regard.

Spontaneity and ability to handle change has always been an area where James and I differ. He embraces change. He loves change. He needs change. Me, not so much. I'm okish with change, but I need time to adapt and settle into new thought patterns before the change happens. Moving this past July was hard for me. James, on the other hand, was excited and ready for the move.

James didn't even know the director or musicians prior to recording and filming. He had no idea what they were like, but was confident that everything would be ok.

He trusted in his fellow humans and believed the shared experience would be positive.

The more I thought about this idea of saying "Yes" to new experiences, the more I came to realize that saying yes is a vital part of living your best life. We have to open ourselves for life to unfold. We have to be willing to lower our walls and step outside. We have to have the courage to go into the ring and participate in the battle instead of just sitting as idle spectators waiting for the show.

3 healthy reasons to say "YES" to new experiences:

1. The Adrenaline Rush of Trying Something New - An adrenaline rush is associated with fight or flight hormones that are released during stress, excitement, or dangerous situations. In the case of trying something new like James did by filming this music video, the excitement of performing made his heart beat faster and heightened the good vibes he was feeling. At that moment he felt alive and his body confirmed this with increased blood flow. In this case, the adrenaline released was essentially healthy and life affirming. This is the same reason we jump out of planes and watch scary movies.

2. Learning and Trying New Things Prevents Alzheimers - In many studies of dementia and Alzheimers, researchers have found that participating in new and different activities can cause new and increased brain activity. For example, experts recommend switching up which hand you use to brush your teeth to engage your brain. When we get stuck in repetitive motion and action, our physical bodies stop growing and our emotional responses become automated. We essentially become robots that don't have to think because movements and thoughts have become fixed. Having new experiences triggers our bran to be more alert, ready to process the new activity. This ultimately can create new pathways, ignite neurons that were previously dormant, and prevent disease.

3. Life is About Connection- Meeting New People is a Boost to Your Mental Health - We are hard wired to connect with people. Our first network starts with our mothers and immediate family structure, and as we age we add to this network with connections to friends, coworkers, mentors, etc. With mental health issues like depression, people can begin to feel alone and isolate themselves. Talking to people, having a support system is critical to staying healthy and disease free. In order to connect, sometimes you have to put yourself out there and new experiences can often times bring new friends. Don't be afraid to sign up for that baking class or try your hand at improv. It will take courage to get out there and meet new folks, but the rewards of meeting new individuals can be fruitful for a lifetime.

I admire James' ability to jump into experiences and embrace adventure. He is fearless and he has the courage to put himself out there. There's a lot of growth in this type of mindset and more importantly, he feels alive!

Watching this video and laughing with James as he recalled working with the musicians and film crew made me understand how much James got out of this experience. He met some really cool people and got to sing and act on a film soundtrack. And, he now has this super cool video to share!

Let yourself go by trying something new. Don't take life so seriously, remember to laugh as you try new things. Have fun when you can, while you can. Enjoy the moments and live well!

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