Being Spontaneous Can Increase Happiness and Relieve Stress—Here's How to Do It

Updated 06/18/19

People need a balance of predictability and novelty," says Kelly Campbell, PhD and we couldn't agree more. Not only does being a little spontaneous help break up the monotony that comes from a routine, predictable lifestyle, it also contributes to what positive psychologists call "peak experiences." These are "euphoric moments characterized by wonder, joy, and oftentimes a feeling of being connected to the larger world," Campbell explains. 

If you've ever felt like you thrive on spontaneity, there might even be scientific evidence to back up your desire to shake things up. Some people crave spontaneity more than others thanks to a highly active behavioral activation system in the brain, according to Campbell. These individuals quite literally experience greater happiness and stress relief when they are able to be spontaneous. If you've been seeking an extra dose of inspiration and creativity, break free from your routine with these 24 spontaneous things to do.

Girls' Trip

Take the day off work and doing something you love. Head straight to the beach, the spa, a museum, or wherever it is you're happiest.

Call someone. Pick up the phone and dial a friend or family member who you haven't caught up with in far too long.

Sign up for a dating app. If you're single and haven't yet experimented with the wonderful world of dating apps, be a little spontaneous and make your very first profile. You never know who you might meet.

Take yourself out to dinner. Instead of heading home after work to cook up a meal for one or indulge in a bit of takeout on the couch, go out for dinner and proudly ask for a table for one.

Get the girls together for an impromptu staycation. It can be as simple as spending a day tanning on the roof or enjoying a spa day at a local hotel for the day, just gather the troops and pretend you're anywhere but home.

Go to a concert. If you know where to look you can find last-minute tickets to a concert through resale websites or even local Facebook pages. Find a ticket or two and take in some live music.


Buy a plane ticket. Even if the trip itself requires some planning, you can buy a ticket to anywhere on the spot.

Go on a shopping spree. Indulge in a bit of retail therapy and treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, a bag, a dress, or all of the above.

Update your look. Make a trip to the salon and commit to a major cut or new color. Whether it's simple highlights or chopping off five inches, you'll feel like a whole new person.

Sign up for lessons. Pick an activity you've been wanting to try and finally sign up for a class. Learn to surf, cook, paint, dance, or make pottery. Just try something new.

Adopt a pet. Head to a shelter and rescue an animal in need of a home. It's a big commitment, but if you have the space and ability to care for a new pet, it's a philanthropic spontaneous thing to do.

Go bungee jumping. Find out where the closest bungee jumping site is, make sure they have a great safety record, and reserve a spot online. Don't think too much about it before you sign up. Where's the spontaneity in that?

Workout Class

Try a new workout class. Plenty of studios offer free classes for first-time students. Grab some friends or drop into a new class by yourself to change up your workout routine.

Get a new piercing. Just because you're no longer in high school doesn't mean you can't spontaneously decide you need a new piercing. Pop into a piercing or tattoo shop to get some new accessories and update your look.

If you're feeling really spontaneous, you can get a tattoo while you're at it.

Redecorate. Buy some paint and update your walls or simply rearrange the furniture. There's never a bad time to refresh your interiors.

Ask a co-worker out to happy hour. Even if they aren't your work BFF, getting to know someone new and treating yourself to a post-work cocktail is a great way to break up the week and forgo your usual after work routine.

Throw a party. No holiday, no birthday, no special occasion, no problem. Send out a mass text or Facebook invite and gather your friends for a spur of the moment evening together.

Try a new cuisine. Even when it feels like you've done it all, there's always something new to try. Give your standard takeout spot a break and find a new restaurant that serves a type of food you've yet to try. 

Road Trip

Go for a drive. Hop in the car and see where you end up. Either drive around town or pack a bag and make a road trip of it, even if it's just to the next town over.

Whip up a new recipe. Even if you're no Giada de Laurentiis, find a recipe online for a dish you've never made before, head to store for the ingredients, and get cooking. If cooking really isn't your thing, experiment with a new cocktail recipe and test your mixology skills.

Go skydiving. You probably won't be able to skydive without a bit of prior planning, but you can certainly reserve your spot to go jump out a plane at a moment's notice. Pro-tip: Check out deals on Groupon to snag a deal at a nearby airfield.

Ask someone out on a date. Whether you've been flirting for weeks or just met on the street, get up the nerve to ask someone out. What's the worst that could happen?

Sign up for open mic night. Belt your favorite song at a local open mic night or finally find out if you really are funny enough to be a stand-up comedian. Even if it's a disaster, you'll still have a funny story to tell.

Check in to a local hotel for the night. Even if you can't get away for more than a night, pick a fancy hotel in your city and book yourself a quick stay. Enjoy a fluffy robe and room service just because.

When it comes to being spontaneous, not spending too much time planning or thinking ahead of time is key. Go out there are do whatever it is you feel like doing right now.

Ready for Anything..

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