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Four Ways to Stop Being Afraid of New Things

Four Ways to Stop Being Afraid of New Things

Monsters, ghosts and witches are afoot!

It’s the season of playacting at being afraid. Halloween can be a nice workout for the amygdala, but the results are fleeting. We go to the movies and “haunted” houses to be jolted out of our comfort zones, but it’s not real. It’s fake risk.

There’s plenty of real stuff out there to be genuinely afraid of, like funnel spiders or chlamydia. But there’s also stuff we should not be afraid of. New stuff.

When we were kids, everything was new to us, but we didn’t seem to mind! In fact, some of that new stuff became our favorite stuff


Why do we shy away from new experiences as we grow? Is it because we have learned that life can possibly be shocking and painful, and that familiar things are not too terrible so we should stick to them? Maybe it’s just too damn complicated and tiring to keep trying.

So we do the same, old things,

But there’s good news. There’s still two whole months in 2017 to do new stuff! What’s the risk, really? That we won’t like it as much as the old stuff?

Here are some ways to get over being scared of new stuff.

Keep it really simple
If you always order the same entrée because you know it’s great and safe, just don’t! Point blindly in another section—seafood perhaps—and just say, “Yeah, that.” Do like your parents told you and eat it. You might actually like it. Or, heck, just go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

Team up on it
Rope your spouse or partner into it. Those neighbors, the ones who seem perfectly nice but you’ve never really talked to? Yes, they aren’t close friends that are familiar and comfortable because you already know all their dumb problems. But they could be new friends, with new dumb problems to hear about! Talk to them and invite them to a meal.

Put it in someone else’s hands
Challenge somebody who knows you well to recommend a book or movie that they know you wouldn’t pick out on your own. Then, if it’s lousy you can return the favor. At the grocery store, find someone in an aisle you don’t usually visit. Buy whatever they choose for you. (Or watch and buy what they buy, just don’t be creepy about it.)

Mitigate the risk
Pretty much any streaming subscription service (Like Netflix, HBO Go or Hulu) offers a free trial of some sort, so why not give it a shot when you can walk away for nothing? This is tougher to find in products, but, ahem, some good companies offer satisfaction guarantees that take much of the risk out of the equation.

That’s it. The only thing we’re asking you to buy is the fact that you’re still brave. Go for it, and have a safe and happy Halloween!
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