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Alter routine to create new experiences

By Veronica Santos, staff writer
On November 14, 2012

  • President McKinley Williams unveils the sculpture of former night and weekend supervisor Martin Padilla in front of the Student Services Center on Thursday. Padilla was killed in a 2008 car crash in Pinole where he collided with a man involved in a high-speed chase with police. Sam Attal / The Advocate

Life becomes more fulfilling for people once they learn how to step out of their comfort zone.
As humans, we create habits and routines. It is true that creating routines can help us organize our daily lives. However, repetition can become boring - it prevents us from expanding our horizons.
According to a study by the author of "The How of Happiness," Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, 40 percent of what makes us happy are our intentional activities.
Intentional activities are what we choose to do on a regular basis to become happier. This does not include social status or material objects.
In her book, Lyubomirsky writes, "If we observe genuinely happy people, we shall find that they do not just sit around being content. They make things happen. They pursue new understandings, seek new achievements..."
A happy individual does not stick to his or her comfort zone.
In the film documentary, "Happy," Lyubomirsky said it's very important, if a person wants to become happier, to try not to adapt to what they're doing so they would consciously vary what they do - this can be done by doing something as simple as changing the route one takes when jogging.
Seeing new scenery is refreshing.
There are no drastic changes needed to live a happy life. Someone who makes $250,000 annually isn't happier than someone who makes $25,000 annually, according to an excerpt from the film.
With websites such as www.groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com, that offer deals on restaurants and activities, it is difficult for the common person not to try new adventures.
I am guilty of taking every opportunity to purchase deals on these sites - discount vouchers for everything from Bikram yoga (yoga in a 100 degree temperature room), wine tasting in Napa, and go-cart racing.
I have even considered purchasing a slot in a flying trapeze class.
Yoga can be tough enough without a high temperature room.
I have relied on yoga during periods of stress, but once it became a habit, I knew I needed a challenge, though I was initially afraid of looking like a fool in a Bikram yoga class.
What I found on my first day of class was that I had nothing to be afraid of.
Of course, I was sore physically. But mentally, I was satisfied knowing I had found something else to add to my well-being - I knew I had challenged myself.
Stepping out of one's comfort zone can be as easy as trying a new food.
There are endless amounts of delicacies outside of pizzas, burgers, and hot dogs.
Trying dishes from different cultures can even help people understand other cultures histories.
For example, Filipino dishes contain a mix of ingredients, which show influences from other cultures.
Spanish acquisition in the Philippines is shown through the many Filipino stew-like dishes such as adobo (pork or chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce) or arroz caldo (rice and chicken porridge).
Something as simple as trying new dishes can help open your mind and senses. Sometimes food should not be eaten only to satisfy our hunger, but to be experienced.
Trying something new does not mean running to jump out of a plane, unless you want to.
Even little changes in people's daily routine can help them keep their sanity.
It is never a bore to listen to the description. It makes you salivate.
It is all about taking the initiative to explore new interests that keep people from feeling trapped in every day life.


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