When was the last time you did something totally in the spur of the moment? For many of us, the answer is way too long ago. But it’s time to change and learn how to be more spontaneous in our daily lives.
People who embrace being spontaneous tend to have less stress and foster their own creativity. When you fully engage in spontaneity, you realize that there are endless opportunities for joy surrounding you.
This article will help you loosen your death grip on your routine and inflexibility. In its place, we will give you tangible tips to discover the gift of being spontaneous.
What does it mean to be spontaneous?
What comes to mind when you think of the word spontaneous? If you’re like me, you think of a wild person who lives without a care.
But being spontaneous isn’t about turning into a hippie or adrenaline junky. If that’s your thing, right on. Many of us aren’t chasing that type of spontaneity though.
Being spontaneous is more about learning how to be flexible enough to live in the moment.
And when we become more spontaneous, we’re able to get out of “autopilot” mode in our lives. The research demonstrates that spontaneous behavior activates more areas in our brains.
It’s like we wake up to our surroundings when we engage in more spontaneous behavior. And oftentimes, this is the type of mix-up we need to feel refreshed and excited.
Why should we be more spontaneous?
Why do we care about being spontaneous in the first place? It’s a fair question.
As someone who thrives with routine and control, I’ve avoided being spontaneous for much of my life. But holding too tightly to routine and control may have robbed me of joy.
Research shows that people who are more flexible in their thoughts and behavior tend to lead happier and healthier lives.
Notice it’s not just about being spontaneous with your behavior. It’s about the willingness to be spontaneous with your thoughts, too.
I have felt and experienced how not being spontaneous negatively impacts me many times. One instance wasn’t so long ago.
I had a friend invite me last minute to go to a concert with them. It was going to be on a work night which meant that I would have to sacrifice sleep.
I said no because I don’t like to give up sleep. And as I was laying in bed that night, I totally regretted it.
Losing a night’s worth of sleep would have been worth it to see this artist live. I could have made incredible memories and lived in the moment.
And other times we’re not being spontaneous with our thoughts. We get trapped into thinking that life will never change and that we have to live on repeat.
You can see how both spontaneous behavior and thoughts can enhance your well-being if you let them.
It's time to do something about it and learn how to be more spontaneous.
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5 ways to be more spontaneous
If being more spontaneous sounds unrealistic to you, let’s shift that perspective. These 5 tips will help make spontaneity seem less intimidating and more attainable.
1. Create free space in your day
Sometimes we’re not being spontaneous because we feel we have no space in our day for it.
Now I get that you live a busy life. But guess what? So does everybody else.
If you want to experience more joy, you have to leave room in your day for the unexpected.
I personally have an hour or so either early evening or towards the end of the day when I leave it open. That time is designated for whatever wants to show up in my life at that time.
I do my best not to plan it. Trust me, it’s very hard for me.
But this has led to random late-night conversations with my husband or choosing to bake cookies for my neighbor. Sometimes it has led to an evening polar plunge or thinking of a new project.
Give yourself space to be spontaneous. Your mind and soul will thank you.
2. Ask yourself what a spontaneous person would do
If being spontaneous is not second nature to you, join the club. This doesn’t mean we’re out of luck though.
When you want to develop a trait or behavior, it can help to imagine what someone who embodies that behavior would do.
This is why I ask myself, “What would a spontaneous person do?”. And then I go do that. It can be that simple.
I had a last-minute cancellation at work the other day. Normally I would stick to my routine and get caught up on paperwork.
But I had this moment where I thought maybe it was time to be spontaneous. I asked myself the spontaneous person question.
And I came up with checking out the new local pastry shop across the street. I had a great time talking with the owner. And now I have a go-to spot for a delicious danish treat.
If I hadn’t asked myself the question, I may have never found this shop. So if you find yourself struggling to be spontaneous, just start asking yourself the spontaneous person question more.
3. Spend time with a kid
Who are some of the most spontaneous people on this planet? That’s right, young kids.
If you spend any time with a kid, you start to realize that they have no agenda. They can switch at a moment's notice from chasing insects to chasing the dog in the yard.
This intuitive live-in-the-moment attitude is something to be admired.
Any time I find myself being too rigid with my thinking or schedule, I go spend time with my friend’s three-year-old.
Within moments, I’m sucked into a pretend world where anything can happen in an instant.
Observe the kids in your life and hang out with them. They can probably teach you a thing or two about how to be spontaneous.
4. Stop overthinking all your thoughts
I know I’m saying this like it’s easy to do. It’s not. At least not for most of us.
But part of being spontaneous is embracing mental flexibility and letting your thoughts come out.
I tend to be the type of person who likes to practice ahead of time what they’re going to say. This is especially true when it comes to emotional or tough conversations.
Not long ago, my husband and I were in an argument over a relatively serious topic. This led to each of us feeling hurt in one way or another.
We were going to chat after work about the matter. Normally I would practice in my head my thoughts and how I want them to come out perfectly.
But I’ve started to realize that I need to be more spontaneous in my communication to allow for vulnerability. So I didn’t overthink it this time.
And the result was a beautifully messy but authentic conversation where we both grew. Let your thoughts and feelings come out. Don’t pre-plan it all.
Because a spontaneous thought could be the start of something really special.
Here's an article that will help you to stop overthinking everything.
5. Say yes
Perhaps the simplest way to be more spontaneous is to start saying yes to the opportunities in your life.
Now I’m not encouraging you to say yes all the time to the detriment of your own rest and health. But if you are always someone who says no to an invite, maybe it’s time to mix it up.
Remember my friend who last minute invited me to the concert? I wish I would have said yes.
That situation woke me up to the fact that I need to be more spontaneous. And since then, I’ve said yes to unplanned camping trips, weekend getaways, and night hikes to star gaze.
Sometimes this meant I had to move my schedule around. And other times it meant I wasn’t as productive.
But guess what? I was happy. And I created memories that I won’t forget because I said yes.
And that right there is the gift of being more spontaneous.
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Being more spontaneous is essential for escaping the monotony of life. While routines and schedules can help us stay organized, they can also steal our joy. The tips from this article will help you to find the right dose of spontaneity to feel fully alive. Because sometimes all it takes is shaking things up a little bit to find your sparkle again.
When were you last spontaneous? What's your favorite to be more spontaneous in life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!