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Novelty and Happiness

As the summer ends, and we start our usual routines again, it’s a good time for us to note the importance of novelty. Summer is often a time when we have different experiences, and sometimes when we return to the fall, we are resuming familiar patterns of life. Although we may have developed certain routines to support our lifestyles, brain research shows that health and longevity are supported by new and different experiences. New experiences stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain and produce dopamine, which makes us happy.

How do we savor the experiences we have had during the summer months, and then encourage ourselves to have new experiences at this time? It may be that we walk down a different street, that we call a friend we haven’t spoken to in a long time, that we listen to a new podcast, or begin a hobby, course, or activity. The experiences we often remember most are novel ones. People who seek new experiences are enriched, and according to research live longer and healthier lives. It is a good time right now to set our intentions for after Labor Day, to continue adding newness to our lives.

Milton Erickson, the famous hypnotherapist, was noted for his unusual methods in psychotherapy. His methods challenged the usual thinking that his clients had and caused them to rethink their ways of perceiving the world. He gave his clients tasks to complete, such as climbing a mountain, or another feat in nature, that they would be part of their therapy. The practice of clinical hypnosis provides us with new and unusual experiences, and allows us to utilize our imagination in order to experience novelty.

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