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Trying Something New

It can be challenging to step up (with compassion) and risk being bad at something. It’s one of the reasons that learning a new skill can be so scary. Nobody wants to look like a fool. But after the changes of the last year, finding something new for your brain or body to do can be extremely refreshing.

The reality is that 1) everyone could possibly look silly trying new things 2) expecting yourself to be an expert at something new is sort of silly and 3) the act of trying, and even failing, has so many benefits for your brain, body, and soul!

Spring is such a great time to get up and try your hand at that thing you’ve been thinking about. Learning to skateboard? Get those elbow pads! Online course? Hit register! Learning to play that instrument? Sign up for lessons!

Get Inspired to Try

The internet is full of perfect examples which can be great for ideas and inspiration – but  can sometimes be a bad place to look if you’re mustering the courage to attempt something new. Remind yourself that everyone who is posting pictures of their flawless end results started right where you are: at the beginning.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everyone else’s attempts and start comparing yourself. Imagine this: you’re a little kid again, would you get mad at your child self for not being as good at jumping rope as another kid? If not, why would you be that unkind to yourself now?

Find Help Online

One of the best things to come from 2020’s craziness is a plethora of online courses, forums, and skill-sharing websites. Almost anything you could want to learn is being taught, at a beginner level, by an expert online. Sometimes they’re not even experts – they’re just another curious person who tried something new and want to share how they did it!

There’s a reason that YouTube is the second search engine after Google. I’ve lost count of the number of things I’ve needed to find out about that someone has made a handy YouTube video for. You can find videos for changing your car lights, household tasks, craft techniques, and even how to pronounce unusual names.

Online can also bring folks together with similar interests – maybe a Printmakers or Artists Group on Facebook where you can get ideas and communicate with people who could give you advice.

In the Community

We have seen how community activities have not died off – especially safe hiking or biking resources or outdoor music enjoyment – with plenty happening in Niwot. As we move tentatively towards more opening we’ll perhaps have a renewed energy for the dance classes, wine tastings or First Fridays that we were denied for so long. So maybe now is the time to consider what it is you’d like to do!

Trying is Good for Your Brain

Learning a new skill not only releases chemicals for happiness and satisfaction, especially when you start to “get it”, but it also creates new neural pathways! Every time you allow your brain to risk failure and continue in an endeavor regardless of outcome, your brain becomes more resilient. The more resilient your brain is, the more capable you are to attempt other new skills and the more efficiently you can do so.

Learning time is also a fantastic break for your mind. The pace most people move at puts their body in a state of stress (often called fight or flight), where our body is compromised and less capable of handling things calmly. When engrossed in learning a new thing, our minds can drop into a flow state.

In flow state, our parasympathetic nervous system (the one that helps de-stress us) gets a chance to reset. Bringing balance back to this system leaves us feeling relaxed, focused, and better prepared to deal with life.

Whatever you decide to take on this spring, consider learning something new! It can be as simple as starting to journal or as complex as computer programming. Just remember to be kind to yourself in the process!

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