The Benefits of Trying New Activities

The other night I did something totally out of my skill set. What is my usual skill set? I’m a scientist – I’ve been trained, through learning and experience, to think technically and logically. I don’t think of myself as artistic – at all.

Which leads me to my original statement – I did something not in my usual skill set. My daughter and I went to a “Wine and Design”. You likely have heard of these types of businesses – you pay a fee to attend a class and paint a picture of your choosing. An artist “coach” talks you through the process, start to finish. In two hours you can create your very own painting, suitable for hanging. Oh, and you can BYOB if you like. We even indulged in a few cookies with our glass of wine.

Wine and Design with Brookie

My daughter, Brooke, and I with our paintings

This was not my first time to attend a wine and design. In fact, it was my fourth. I can’t say that my painting skills have improved much. So why do I keep going back?

Learning a New Activity Can Help You Relax

The first time I attended a painting class, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I had no idea if I would enjoy myself. But my best girlfriend, my daughter and I had all been wanting to try a class.

As we began to paint our pictures, chatting amongst ourselves while following our teacher’s instructions, I had a moment of reflection. I suddenly realized that I was truly relaxed. I hadn’t had a thought about work, personal issues – nothing. I was totally focused on painting.  For me, this was a really enlightening moment. You see, I’d categorize myself as a type A personality. I always have to be busy, and my mind is always active with thoughts – about work, my kids, plans for dinner – you get the idea. Maybe you can relate.

Spending Time With Friends and Family Can Make You Healthier

Another bonus to taking the painting classes is the time I get to spend with my friend(s), or spending time with just my daughter – like our class the other night. We created memories attending these classes together. Nothing can replace that.

Spending time with family and/or friends can make you healthier.  A study done by researchers at Brigham Young University found that those who have healthy relationships are half less likely to die early than those who live more isolated lives.  The lead researcher said a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

How’s that for motivation to foster healthy social relationships?

Learning New Skills Can Make You More Productive

Doing an activity outside your comfort zone can stretch your brain muscles, so to speak.  When we push ourselves to do something new or foreign to us, we learn novel skills – often both intellectual and mechanical.

Spending time on new activities can actually make you more productive.  A study in Journal of Psychological Sciences confirms that learning new skills enhances cognitive function and improves memory.

I Challenge You to Try Something New

So what’s my point in sharing all this?  I want to encourage you to find the time to learn a new skill set.  Maybe spend quality time with those special to you.  Push yourself outside your comfort zone.

I’d love to hear what new skills you’ve learned, and how doing so has benefited you!

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