As the pandemic showed, there will be plenty of circumstances in our lives, oftentimes out of our control, that will limit the amount of new experiences we can have. We will also always hit a point called “hedonic adaptation,” when a new object or person or experience just isn’t very exciting to us anymore. Fortunately, Santos has some advice here. She suggests two techniques you’ve likely heard before: mindfulness and gratitude.
The simple act of being grateful for the things that you have means that you’re paying attention to the features of them,” Santos said. “I’ve, in some sense, used gratitude to bring novelty to an experience that was boring a few seconds ago: when you’re thinking gratefully, it can all of a sudden seem new.”
“Think about an old city, where the roads haven’t been repaired in a long time,” he explained. “When you’re confronting novelty all the time, you’re building new pathways and bridges and roadways in there.”