Do you challenge your comfort zone? Do you know what a comfort zone is? Maybe you've heard about it, but not too bothered by it's workings. That's understandable. Shocking as it may seem (and being a self-professed self-improvement junkie), I recently came across this subject myself just recently (I know, that's bad isn't it;-). And yet the truth be told, as I have just discovered, challenging your comfort zone is something everybody really should be doing.
But what is your comfort zone?
Essentially, it is a behavioral zone where you are free of anxiety, and you maintain a steady level of physical performance. Needless to say, maintaining a steady level of physical performance can be deemed a bit subjective. But I digress here…what's the point of pushing, or expanding your comfort zone, when it keeps you in an anxiety free state? After all, you don't want to experience danger, do you?
Well, the thing is, the comfort zone is like a psychological blanket, which is nice for a while but soon smothers you up, so you don't grow or evolve much further. While we need it initially (we have to, to say alive…it's part of the survival mechanism of your body!) it can soon begin to limit your life experience.
Metaphorically, it's kinda like living in the back of a cave. Sure, you're safe and you're not going to be attacked by animals much, but are you really living? On the outside world, there may be dangers of animals lurking around, but you will soon develop new skills to learn to adapt, and this skill process helps with you evolving as a person.
But we need to stop and ask ourselves the ultimate question, is stepping out of our comfort zone really, truly worthwhile?
Honestly, in my personal (but limited) experience, and from what I've read about successful people, the answer is a resounding yes. We all know people who always play it safe, yet do they really have the lifestyle that you crave…
didn't think so!
Of course, there is a big difference in stepping out of your comfort zone slightly, and being in a stressful situation. When I'm talking about expanding your comfort zone, I'm talking about doing something that is going to make you slightly afraid, and that's it. I'm not talking about doing something that is going to increase your stress levels.
Doing something that increases your stress levels is not only stupid, but it is downright dangerous (as well as mentally exhausting, which could cause problems with your body).
So, without further delay, I present quick ways of expanding your comfort zone.
1- Do something that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable (obviously)
2- Watch a program that you wouldn't normally watch (and pay attention to it!)
3- Have a walk to your local village when you don't feel like going outside
4- Go to bed earlier than usual
5- Talk to people you wouldn't normally talk to (but get centered first)
6- Do something quickly, the second you feel like putting it off (could be some housework, a chore, a task, sending an email, etc…)
I know the above sounds simple, but lots of simple things add up right? And the thing is, you'll start to feel a bit better and more alive as a result. The real secret is to feel the small anxiety, and then do it anyway. When you do it, the anxiety is quickly doused by a feeling of small bliss. If you can somehow get hooked onto this feeling (what I call the, ‘courage drug'), it will make expanding your comfort zone a great adventure.
Just a few tips to get started that I noticed when I began doing this: Try to do this when you a mentally fresh, and not tired. Despite sounding easy, expanding your comfort zone is still a tricky thing to do, and your subconscious anxious feelings will flair up. It's therefore easier to overcome this when you a fairly refreshed, then when you are exhausted and desperately need some sleep.
Don't forget, the trick is to get used to feeling uncomfortable, before the, ‘courage drug' takes over. To the degree that you feel uncomfortable, is to the degree the bigger the, ‘drug feeling' is.
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