by Kassandra Lamb ~ I love new things! Don’t get me wrong; I am not a particularly materialistic person. I don’t want or need expensive things, but I just love the thrill of something new.
Which makes sense.
Our brains are wired to pay attention to the novel things in our environment.
Our senses slide right over the familiar, and zero in on what is different.
Indeed, research has found that novelty stimulates the release of dopamine. This neurotransmitter tends to focus our attention, and it also triggers pleasurable feelings.
Finding joy during lockdown
During the height of the pandemic, unlike way too many people, we had more than the normal amount of surplus income. As retirees, our budget was not affected by layoffs, and we weren’t doing anything or going anywhere. No restaurants, no entertaining, no travel, etc.
So we bought some new things, the largest expenditure being for new windows. They were much needed as the old ones were the originals, installed in 1972 when the house was built. They were single pane, far from hurricane proof, and most of them no longer opened. But instead of seeing them as a necessary evil that cost us way too much money, I was thrilled every time I looked at them.
More recently I got new cushions for the porch furniture. And I noticed that the thrill of something new was almost as strong looking at my pretty new cushions (all of which combined were under $75; did I mention I’m also a bargain hunter?) as it had been when admiring the new windows.
Indeed, I got the same thrill of something new looking at the volunteer mimosa tree that sprang up in my yard this past spring, and it didn’t cost me a dime nor any effort.
Survival of the most curious?
The fact that experiencing something new grabs our attention and stimulates us makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. The day-to-day familiar things around us don’t represent any threat, nor do they usually offer new opportunities.
But when something unfamiliar pops up, we need to pay attention. Is it good or bad? Will it harm us? If so, we need to be ready to flee or fight.
But maybe it offers a new opportunity. In more primitive times, that might have been a new source of food or a new place where we could take shelter from the elements. So being on the alert for these opportunities increased the odds of survival, as did quickly identifying new threats. Those who felt the strongest thrill of something new were more likely to survive and reproduce.
Am I addicted to new?
Dopamine is also linked to addiction—the seeking again and again that thrill of a shot of dopamine, from drugs, or gambling, or whatever one becomes addicted to. I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to shopping. Thank heavens I also get a real kick out of finding bargains.
As long as I keep those two addictions yoked together—the search for the thrill of something new and for a bargain as well—I’ll be okay.
What has recently given you the thrill of something new?
And speaking of new things, we have some new releases coming up, for your reading pleasure!
Night of the Cupid, A Wits’ End Doyle Cozy Mystery, #7, by Kirsten Weiss (RELEASES 10/31/22)
Roses, chocolate, and a completed to-do list. Is that too much to ask for Valentine’s Day? When you own the Sierra’s best UFO-themed B&B, it might be. Because murder is about to collide with all of Susan’s carefully laid plans…
The Valentine’s special at her B&B has attracted all the wrong guests—a group of Bigfoot seekers and the ex-con who shared the worst night of Susan’s life in a small-town jail. At least she’s got her boyfriend Arsen for moral support.
Or does she? Because as the big day approaches, Arsen’s acting even more unpredictable than usual.
And when she discovers the body of a woman with a bevy of boyfriends, she learns that when love goes wrong, nothing goes right. But will Susan’s determination to set things straight land her on the wrong end of one of Cupid’s arrows?
Reduced during Preorder! AVAILABLE ON: AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ NOOK ~ GOOGLE PLAY
AppleJacked, A Moccasin Cove Mystery #2, by Liz Boeger (Releases 11/1/22)
Elementary principal Ana Callahan knows a thing or two about flipping failing schools, but she’s discovered the learning curve on solving murders is steep.
Now in the second year of her school rescue, in Moccasin Cove on Florida’s Gulf coast, Ana is on the verge of winning a pivotal grant award. But her grand plan hits a snag after a teacher is murdered and the crime is pinned on a runaway teenager Ana mentors. The story goes viral. Ana’s campus is besieged by the media, angry parents, and complex questions about the dead teacher’s past. Worse, the myopic rookie detective assigned to the case has her sights set on all the wrong suspects.
While grieving the teacher’s death, Ana starts her own investigation, but her discovery of a body on the beach pins a bullseye on Ana’s back. In her quest to solve two murders, locate the missing teen, and salvage the grant win, Ana unwittingly unleashes a riptide of childhood secrets that force her to learn a hard lesson… It takes a village to raise a child, but it may also take your life.
(2021 Finalist: Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense; 2015 Finalist: Royal Palm Literary Award)
AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER SOON!
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida. Plus she has started a new police procedural series, also set in Florida—The C.o.P. on the Scene mysteries. And she writes romantic suspense under the pen name of Jessica Dale.
Misterio press produces an array of quality crime fiction. We post here twice a month, usually on Tuesdays, to alert you to new releases, to entertain, and to inform.
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K.B. OwenOctober 18, 2022 at 1:49 pm
Even rearranging a cabinet gives me a thrill, LOL, though not so much for hubby when he can’t find anything. (I DO tell him where everything is…and yet…).
It seems to me, though, that we can get overwhelmed by too much newness, and have to space it out. I wonder if some are more tolerant than others in that regard. My 89 yo aunt hates change of any kind. Too bad she has to move in a couple of weeks to a new apartment.
Kassandra LambOctober 18, 2022 at 7:07 pm
Yes, like all things human, this tends to exist on a continuum. The brain is programmed to attend to novelty. But whether we’re more likely to be “thrilled” by it or have it make us anxious, that depends on a lot of other things. I know several people like your aunt who hate change. I truly feel for them, because life is all too often all about change.
Susie LindauOctober 18, 2022 at 7:37 pm
I love new things but am not into the shopping required. That said, when we were in Italy, I wanted EVERYTHING! LOL!
Kassandra LambOctober 18, 2022 at 7:41 pm
Oh, I have so much trouble resisting buying everything in sight when we travel… And travel! There’s another example of how humans like novelty. I love seeing new places!