Imagine a time in your life someone surprised you. Surprises are a magical experience. When people surprise us with a gift, we feel important and supported. Our emotions instantly change when we suddenly become surprised. Keeping us on our toes, surprises force us to experience the unexpected.
Recently my best friend asked me, "Why surprises are special to me?" I had to stop and think of why surprises are so special to me. I came up with a list of four reasons below.
1) Freeze in time. Surprises catch you in the moment and force you to alter your emotions. I love the rush of the unexpected adventure you instantly anticipate once your brain recognizes what is going on. It is similar to an adrenaline rush. In that very moment, nothing else matters, but what you discovered. Surprises demand us to pay close attention and make us more aware of our surroundings. Our brains release dopamine when we are surprised which makes the experience better, and things seem grander. Mystery and anticipation trigger excitement in that single snapshot during the surprise.
2) Discovery. When you are surprised, you discover something about yourself but also about the other people involved. You begin to realize that if someone surprised you with a sweet card that they must care about you because they took their time out of their day to form the words on that paper and give it to you. When someone surprises you with a gift, you instantly feel important. As an education major, I am all about some learning. Surprises act as a catalyst to intensify a desire for learning. The idea of a surprise means that we did not know that such a thing existed and our mind begins to ponder various questions. An intense rush of emotions takes place. You begin to understand the care that person has for you, and you feel loved. Moreover, you feel overflowing appreciation for the people involved.
3) Shifting mind gears. Your brain works like the manual transmission in a car. You start the day off with the first gear, and then gradually throughout the day you alter your gears according to your drive. When I get a surprise, I quickly go from my current gear to the highest gear within seconds. You gain a new perspective once you receive an unexpected encounter. Thoughts of that person cross your mind, and you see a greater understanding of who that person is. If you were to think that all beaches were the same, and then you arrive at a beach that challenges your expectations. The change in your current state of mind allows you to shift perspectives and see that all beaches are different. We build a tolerance for the unexpected and that reduces anxiety in our lives.
4) Returning the favor. I love surprises because I can then share the experience with that person in return. We live in a big world that is constantly changing, so we have to embrace the uncertainty. Personally, I love the reward from living in the unexpected. I am a planner, and I love having control. Recently I have been reminded over and over again that I cannot control everything, and I cannot plan everything. I just have to live, and quite frankly my favorite memories take place when I have participated in unexpected in activities or gotten gifts that I did not anticipate. I love sharing that feeling with people. Sometimes you have to surprise yourself and take a spontaneous day trip somewhere. Furthermore, you could try something new. That feeling of "new" and out of your comfort zone is exhilarating. Why wouldn't you want to share that feeling with those closest to you or even with strangers? I am a letter writer, and I love hearing how surprised my sailor is when he receives a letter. At this point, he probably expects letters because I have sent him so many, but he does not know the words that will fill that paper. I love hearing his happy voice when he tells me he got a letter, and how much he appreciated. Those are the moments of surprise I live for.
I encourage you to live a little on the edge and with that you will be surprised. I also challenge you to surprise those around you. Stick a random note of kindness on someone's car, or send a relative you have not talked to in a while a gift. Surprises are something to live for. It sparks creativity and happiness. Go be bold!
P.S. To my best friend who asked me to write this article, I hope you enjoyed it. I love your surprises more than you will ever know. You manage to surprise me daily which is crazy, but it makes my heart so very full. I am thankful for your adventurous soul that pushes us outside of our comfort zones and forces us to live in a state of surprise. You have opened my mind to this idea, and at times, I hate it. I am by nature a person who clings to control and resists vulnerability along with uncertainty. However, when I am with you I am reminded that I only live one life and I might as well live it full of adventures because after all, the cure to dying is living. We have encountered some great memories that started out as, "I wonder..." and "What if...?" We actively turn on wonder and curiosity through that we feel the most alive. Thank you for sparking the inspiration for this content post. I know I am on this surprise kick right now, but this is no surprise- I love you. Continue to surprise the people who surround you and surprise yourself.