Don’t be afraid of taking a new path – embrace it. Whether it’s adjusting how you think or just trying something new, here are our top five reasons why change can make your life better
1. It makes you a more positive person
Adapting to change can have a beneficial impact on your overall outlook on life. ‘People who are able to embrace change generally fare better in life, be it a small thing such as trying something new for breakfast, or a larger one like relocating to another town for a promotion,’ explains life coach Jessica Chivers (jessicachivers.com). ‘They can respond to opportunities and move on from situations that cause distress. The key is attitude: get into the mindset that something good can come from the change.’
2. It helps you stay in shape
If you regularly run the same route in your local park, it might be more than your mind that gets bored. ‘Sticking to the same routine will only result in diminishing returns, as your body becomes accustomed to the demands placed upon it,’ explains Dean Hodgkin, fitness expert at Ragdale Hall Health Hydro. ‘Your body will find the most efficient way to handle the exercise, and so will not be taxed as much as is required to achieve gains. The answer is to make changes around every six weeks.’ So try a new machine or class at the gym, or even take up a new sport that will stretch you in different ways.
3. It’s good for your mental health
Your self-esteem can get a real boost when you try new things. ‘By making small yet successful changes in your life, you start to feel better about yourself,’ says Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management. ‘You may also feel more in control, which would reduce stress and anxiety levels. I suggest challenging, but not overwhelming, changes.’ Do small things every day to help you become more flexible – walk a different way to work or even wear a combination of clothes you haven’t worn before.
4. You’ll fare better at work
If you’ve worked in a similar job for a long time, you’ve probably developed workplace habits without realising it. But, according to Professor Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organizational psychology and health, it can benefit you to change these. ‘Don’t be a workaholic,’ he says. ‘Coming in early and staying late for a specific project is fine, but if you do it week in, week out you’ll not only damage relationships outside work, but you’ll burn out, making you less effective in the long term.’ Instead, it’s better to look for different ways of doing things that could help speed up the work process.
5. It helps to keep your mind active
Learning different skills, meeting new people and having a wide range of experiences all give your brain a workout. Whenever you do new things, your brain cells make connections, and it’s these that can help to keep your brain sharp. ‘The more experiences you have, the more active your brain becomes,’ says Dr Catherine Loveday, a principal lecturer in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster. Evidence also suggests that being exposed to new experiences can improve your memory.