It is the time of year where people pay attention to accomplishments of the past year and set goals for the next.  We are all familiar with the typical “eat better”, “exercise more”, “spend more time with loved ones” goals.  And while these are excellent goals, we often see a 30-day fizzle.  We suggest an alternative goal by having a different approach to daily living.

 Take this year to move from your comfort zone to your growth zone. Place yourself in situations that promote your mental health, your knowledge base, your wellness, and happiness by doing new things.  Things that you are bad at, things that are novel, and bring you to a different state of awareness and arousal. 

Chances are, if you are prone to anxiety, you are also risk adverse.  You likely choose the safest path and familiarity.  Anxiety disorders are rooted in the thought that the world is full of risk that you won’t be able to manage.  Risk adverse people do just that – avoid risks. When we avoid perceived risks, we also miss the benefits of growth zone experiences. At Cascade Academy, we challenge our students to step into new experiences through recreation therapy (skiing, canyoneering, kayaking, rock climbing, equine), academics (live instruction, online instruction, community course), exposure response prevention (engaging with discomfort of intrusive thoughts), daily living (social events, community activities, life skills) and more.  Embrace the healing power of “new” in this new year. Our hope for you; make this year’s goal to do more new.  Move into the year embracing the right kind of fear that invites growth. 

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Our favorite ideas to keep things new:

  • Take a different route on your drives for a week at a time.
  • Experience a new type of animal you usually avoid
  • Try to get lost in your town/city (don’t use your phone until it’s time to leave)
  • Change the music – listen to a totally different genre
  • Eat a new style of food
  • Try Geocaching
  • Buy someone a gift
  • Do a guided meditation (free ones on youtube)
  • Go to the library and find something different
  • Change your chair at work to a yoga ball or a stand up desk
  • Ride the bus or train and talk to someone you’re next to
  • Write a hand written note to someone
  • Go to a movie or to dinner alone
  • Attend a dance or martial arts class
  • Color
  • Attend a local cultural event/festival
  • Take a class on something unrelated to your career
  • Brush your teeth and use utensils with non-dominant hand for a day
  • Re-arrange the furniture in a room of your home
  • Switch your coffee, tea or morning drink
  • Learn 5 phrases in a new language
  • Picnic at a local park
  • Go to a local shop (farmers market, art store, etc)
  • Attend a local theater
  • Change the backgrounds/wallpaper of your devices
  • Volunteer
  • Adjust your work day (start an hour or two earlier or go in an hour or two later) occasionally

Share your favorite ways to mix up the routine and engage in new experiences?

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