Why Doing Something Different Can Boost Well-Being

Why Doing Something Different Can Boost Well-Being

via Psychology Today by Jutta Joormann


  • Experiential diversity—going to new or different places and doing different things—can boost well-being, research suggests.
  • A study using geotracking of participants found that on days when they went to a wider range of places, their positive emotions were higher.
  • Increasing one’s range of activities or locations, especially as pandemic restrictions ease, could create an “upward spiral” of positivity.

It has been an exhausting few months at work, and you are excited to take a break. With a few vacation days remaining, rather than lounging around the house (which was your initial plan), a friend recommends that you make some plans to road trip. Your excitement starts to build at the prospect of traveling – exploring different and potentially new locations, eating different foods, and making new memories. This does take a bit of planning, but imagine if you had just stayed at home, watching television and lying on the couch all day.

Or let’s take a somewhat more pertinent example, one relevant to the ongoing pandemic. One of the hardest things about COVID-19 is that quarantine has greatly limited our ability to pursue new experiences. Studies show that the inability to engage in our typical environments has undoubtedly endangered people’s mental health (Choi et al., 2020) — you may be able to relate to this. Nevertheless, especially for those of you who normally find it difficult to try new activities, you may have found great solace in pushing yourself to find some sort of rhythm this past year. Whether it was immersing yourself in a new hobby, setting new goals, or walking to a part of the neighborhood you’ve never been to before, finding different ways to live the day-by-day seems to be beneficial and quite refreshing to many of us.

From these examples, hopefully you can start to see how experiential diversity, or going to new (or at least different) places and/or engaging in different experiences, can improve overall well-being. This principle is quite intuitive to us since many would agree that going on vacation – or perhaps, for those who aren’t as extroverted, finding different activities to do each day – makes us happier. In more concrete terms, human experience suggests that experiential diversity may be associated with increased positive affect, which makes sense since exploration seems to be an innate human desire…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE