Inspired living

Why you need to do your favourite things differently

Hand holding wooden chopsticks


Do you find that you are bored with what used to be some of your favourite things? For example, you loved your couch but somehow you just can’t seem to enjoy it as much as you did when you first got it. Your experience of your couch is not the same as it was before.

Researchers from the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business explain that if you don’t enjoy your favourite things as you used to then you should try something new with the same old thing. This helps to break boredom and the findings of their study suggest that using unconventional consumption methods helps you focus on what you enjoyed about your favourite thing in the first place.

The results showed that people who ate the popcorn using chopsticks enjoyed it more than those who used their hands.

The researchers conducted four experiments to understand this phenomenon. Sixty-eight people were recruited for a laboratory experiment in which half the people ate 10 kernels of popcorn using their hands, one at a time. The other half ate the kernels one at a time with chopsticks. The participants rated their experience on a variety of measures, including how much they enjoyed the popcorn, how flavourful it was and how much fun it was to eat it.

The results showed that people who ate the popcorn using chopsticks enjoyed it more than those who used their hands. Compared to participants who ate with their hands, participants who used chopsticks reported that they felt more immersed in the experience. They also reported that eating with chopsticks helped intensify the taste and helped them focus on the food.

The researchers then had the participants repeat the experiment. In this trial, all participants enjoyed the popcorn and the experience, regardless of how they ate it. This suggests that eating popcorn with chopsticks increases enjoyment because it provides an unusual first-time experience, and not because it is a better way to eat popcorn.

In a second study, 300 participants came up with their own new and fun ways to drink water — like drinking out of a martini glass or out of a shipping envelope and even lapping at the water with their tongue like a cat. Those who drank water in these novel ways enjoyed it more than those who drank it normally.

In the final two studies — one conducted in a lab and one done online — participants watched a one-minute video. The video showed a thrilling motorcycle ride filmed with a GoPro camera from the driver’s perspective. All participants watched it twice normally, rating how much they enjoyed it after each viewing.

But for the third viewing, one-third were asked to watch the videos using “hand-goggles” — forming circles with their thumbs and index fingers around their eyes. Another third of the participants watched the video which was flipped upside down. The final third watched the video in the normal way.

The researchers found that those who watched the video in the normal way enjoyed it less by the third viewing. Those who watched the video upside down didn’t enjoy it very much because, even though the viewing was unconventional, it was also disruptive. However, those who watched the video for the third time with hand-goggles enjoyed it more than the other groups. Results suggest the unconventional way of watching made the video itself more enjoyable. The researchers also offered to let all participants download the video to keep and found that three times more people who watched with hand-goggles asked to download the video than those in the other conditions.

These results suggest that if you are bored of your former favourite things, like spending time on your couch, it might be easier to find a new way to use it, like putting it in another room, as opposed to going out and buying a new one.

Source: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!