Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Small Changes

In her book, Inner Peace for Busy People: 52 Simple Strategies for Transforming Your Life, Joan Z. Borysenko, Ph.D., discusses change. She writes, "Psychologist Ellen J. Langer discovered that people who try new things are healthier and happier than those who stay in a rut. Even choosing a different route home from work benefits you. In her book, Mindfulness, she makes the point that variety keeps us engaged in life.

"You might be able to zone out if you've taken the same route a hundred times, but if you're on unfamiliar turf you have to stay tuned in. Tuning in encourages curiosity and results in a more adventurous life. An acquaintance of mine chose to drive a new way to work one day and got rear-ended in a traffic jam. But all's well that ends well. She married the man who slammed into her.

"This week, try making two small changes every day. Take a different street to work, turn off the television for an evening, go to a restaurant that serves exotic food, change your brand of toothpaste, smile at someone you don't know, show up at work wearing Groucho Marx glasses, go to a different supermarket, get a more daring hairdo, eat dessert first, or buy or borrow a piece of clothing that you never wear. The possibilities are endless.

"At the end of the week, reflect on what these little changes produced. Then think about your life. If you're in a rut, identify one small step you might take toward change. There's a whole landscape to explore once you leave the beaten path."

FYI...This will be an easy assignment for me since this weekend my husband and I are going away for a three-day painting workshop at a beach community about four hours away. But if anyone decides to try this...let us know what you do!


Howard said...

I hope and trust you guys will enjoy the painting workshop. Sounds like a wonderful time!

Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Howard. We're really looking forward to it. My husband is the painter, but I'm taking my digital camera!


Mariposa said...

Oh...painting workshops is always fun! ;)

And yes, though I love staying within my comfort zones, trying new things bring a certain delight.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
I like staying within my comfort zone as well. But, over the years I've expanded it and that feels good.

However, I've always enjoyed trying new things. Still, I've worn the same hair style for 40 years (smiling face).


marja said...

For me, I think every day is somewhat different and holds so many possibilities. I don't work, but have a lot of things I do - mostly involving people. I love to read tpp and opening every new book is exciting and filled with possibilities for learning and growing...and having good things to pass along to my support group or on my blog.

Doesn't it all depend on how we approach it? Some people might consider reading books all the time a bore. But for me it's an adventure.

I think my husband and I need to play a different game than we've been playing for so long, though. Ruts are comfortable, though, aren't they? And sometimes we need comfort.

P.J. said...

This is similar to my post today. It's about things we can do to get the most out of life.

When it comes to the "eat dessert first" I am all for that!!

When I'm feeling good, I enjoy doing something I don't normally do. On Sunday, I bought 2 pairs of shoes. I haven't bought shoes since my best friend left - she always gave me her opinion and I bought based on that. Also on Sunday, I bought A LOT of groceries - with three kids! Monday morning I went back to bed after my daughter went to school, and I slept til 12:30, something I NEVER do. I also made 2 food items I never made before, while letting the KIDS HELP. It'll be interesting to see what today has in store!!

Gianna said...

your weekend sounds delightful...

I love making changes (or doing new things anyway....and I've had literally hundreds of hairstyles! (and early on lots of different colors too!! I kinda miss messing around with the color!)

Right now I am discovering a new neighborhood, so when I manage to be able to be out and about I especially delight it finding new routes because it means getting to know more of my neighborhood...

otherwise it's hard for me right now to do a lot of different things...

I did a while back put effort into reading more diverse blogs and have found some good ones outside the realm of mental health.

Wellness Writer said...

I agree that every day is different and holds new possibilities. But I think that some people don't feel that way because they're stuck.

And even those of us who aren't stuck sometimes need to look at things in new ways.

Actually Langer's suggestion of a change being as simple as changing the flavor of your toothpaste made me smile. I've used Crest for most of my life, and that would be a change I could easily do.

P.S. I consider the act of reading one of the greatest ways to evoke change. Every time I read something, it has the capability to change my thinking about some important issue,or just to get a different point of view.

Wellness Writer said...

That's terrific and I'm going to read your post about it. Personally, I think it takes great courage and stamina to go marketing with three young children. And it is fun to cook something different.

Also, I love shoes as well. It's a trait I inherited from my mother who had a wide array of outrageous shoes. Mine are more conventional, but still give me pleasure.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Gianna,
Moving in itself is a huge change, so learning about a new neighborhood must be very exciting!