Head­case

How to find your spirit of ad­ven­ture when life is busy.

Good - - CONTENTS - with Dr Alice Boyes al­ice­boyes.com

Ap­ply ad­ven­ture to you

T he word “ad­ven­ture” brings to mind thrill-seek­ing ac­tiv­i­ties like bungee jump­ing, but ad­ven­ture is much broader than that. Be­ing ad­ven­tur­ous rep­re­sents any­thing you do that pushes you out­side your com­fort zone.

Think about week­end ac­tiv­i­ties, food, books, pod­casts, recre­ational classes, restau­rants, travel, even TV shows you wouldn’t usu­ally choose but have an in­ter­est in. Ad­ven­ture can mean spend­ing time with peo­ple who have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world view to you, or learn­ing about an­other cul­ture. Bal­anc­ing a busy life with chal­leng­ing your­self Stick­ing with the fa­mil­iar is less ex­haust­ing. The key is to find your ad­ven­ture sweet spot. When I travel I tend to re­turn to places I al­ready know and love, but I do try and do at least one new ac­tiv­ity each trip, and mix it up by try­ing a new des­ti­na­tion at least once or twice a year. What’s your ideal ra­tio of new-to-fa­mil­iar? You might re­turn to restau­rant you love three out of four times you dine out, and on the fourth time try some­where com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

What are your self-lim­it­ing thoughts?

Try com­plet­ing the sen­tence, “I can only be ad­ven­tur­ous when...” What­ever your an­swer, try com­ing up with rea­sons why this isn’t true. If your thought is, “I can only be ad­ven­tur­ous with meals when my hus­band is away on busi­ness trips,” try think­ing of other times or ways you could have more in­ter­est­ing meals. Do this for thoughts like, “I can only be ad­ven­tur­ous when... I’m on hol­i­day from work.”

The role of other peo­ple

Mo­ti­va­tional speaker Jim Rohn ar­gues that we are the av­er­age of the five peo­ple we spend most time with. Re­gard­less of how strictly ac­cu­rate this state­ment is, it’s still in­ter­est­ing to con­sider what we’d be like if it were true. Who are the five peo­ple you spend the most time with? How do they en­cour­age or sup­press your spirit of ad­ven­ture? If you have some­one close to you who sup­presses your ad­ven­tur­ous side in a par­tic­u­lar way, skip any blam­ing and find prac­ti­cal ways to work around it. For ex­am­ple, if your spouse prefers plain food but you like spice, could you have foodie ad­ven­tures with a friend, or stick to spicy meals at lunch times? Also ask your­self, “How can I sup­port the spirit of ad­ven­ture in those I’m clos­est to?”

The idea of emo­tional con­ta­gion is well sup­ported by re­search – we tend to pick up on the emo­tions and be­hav­iour of those around us. Whenever you do ac­tiv­i­ties that in­volve a de­gree of chal­lenge, you’ll en­counter other peo­ple who are also in­ter­ested in push­ing them­selves. This could in­volve sign­ing up to a univer­sity pa­per, a tramp­ing club or a book group. Peo­ple who’ve or­gan­ised them­selves to at­tend some­thing that re­quires ef­fort are go­ing to be more ad­ven­tur­ous than those who are sit­ting at home on their so­fas. Cre­ate habits that keep you ad­ven­tur­ous One of my habits is try­ing to book my next trip be­fore re­turn­ing home from the cur­rent one. This means I al­ways have some travel to look for­ward, and it helps me avoid post-trip blues. They aren’t nec­es­sar­ily fancy trips; they might just be a week­end road trip or a night at a na­tional park. I make re­fund­able reser­va­tions be­cause it makes it eas­ier to take the plunge and book, know­ing I can can­cel. How­ever, be­cause I’ve made a be­havioural com­mit­ment, I tend not to can­cel. This means I take more trips than I would oth­er­wise and make de­ci­sions with­out over­think­ing them. Be­ing ad­ven­tur­ous is of­ten about tak­ing ad­van­tage of a serendip­i­tous mo­ment Let’s say you’ve been on the look­out for a tramp­ing buddy, a wine-tast­ing ac­com­plice or some­one to share a pas­sion your friends aren’t in­ter­ested in. You meet some­one ca­su­ally and you hit it off. Do you send them a Facebook friend re­quest? Or, you spot some­one you don’t know well but have seen around the neigh­bour­hood in a pub­lic set­ting. Do you pluck up the courage to say hello? Try mak­ing a pact with your­self that in these si­t­u­a­tions you’re go­ing to make the ad­ven­tur­ous choice. Psy­chol­ogy ex­pert Dr Alice Boyes is the au­thor of the book, The Anx­i­ety Tool­kit.

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