When it comes to happiness, most of us focus on cultivating successful careers, finding good friends and starting and raising a family.
But there is so much more to living a happy life, and it turns out one of those key components is maintaining a good sense of curiosity. Turns out the saying, “curiosity killed the cat” may not be so true after all.
Considering a 2013 Harris Poll found that only one in three Americans reports being very happy, it’s important to find different avenues that boost your satisfaction levels, and developing a stronger sense of curiosity may help.
According to Psych Central, curiosity is, “a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something.” This motivated interest allows you to jump into new activities or unfamiliar circumstances, which results in more new and exciting opportunities as well as personal growth.
Some of us are more naturally curious than others, but that doesn’t mean your stuck feeling confined and unhappy. Ways to boost your levels of curiosity include reading more, asking questions – despite how dumb they may seem — keeping an open mind, and seeking surprise.
If you’re still not convinced that curiosity can improve your life, consider these five proven effects of being curious.
1. It Boosts Your Self-Esteem
According to research published in the British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, having a sense of exploratory curiosity predicts positive mood and self-esteem. Curiosity can motivate you to find meaning in experiences, including those related to yourself.
2. It Gives You Greater Hope And Life Purpose
Being curious can can increase your life satisfaction as well as help you feel more hope and greater life purpose, according to a study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Curiosity can help you make your life more active rather than passive, which opens you up to new possibilities.
3. It Boosts Your Creativity
In addition to your overall mood, feeling curious can boost your creativity. Studies show a strong connection between a tendency to seek out new experiences and a more creative personal identity. Curiosity is often the motivator for writers and artists to create their work, as it can be a way to figure things out.
4. It Improves Your Work Behavior
Research from the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health found that the character strength “curiosity” was linked to healthy and ambitious work behavior, including job satisfaction and work engagement. Staying curious within a work environment can help you be more innovative and even learn more.
5. It Helps You Learn Faster
A study from the journal, Neuron, indicates that our brains experience a change in chemistry when we become curious. This chemical change helps us learn better and retain more information.
Feeling curious motivates us to find answers, which activates an intrinsic reward system in our brain, which can release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that also enhances the connections between cells involved in learning.
Wanting to learn more about the world and try new experiences can open up a whole trove of opportunities in many aspects of your life. To inspire more curiosity within yourself, continue to ask questions, learn about topics outside of your regular interests, and embrace the unexpected.
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