As therapists we talk about this imaginary comfort zone a lot. We may use different phrases and words, perhaps we talk about resistance to change or pushing boundaries or maybe we just suggest doing things differently. Whatever the language we are talking about change and doing something in a way we haven’t done before to achieve a different result. This means for many of us that we have to step outside that invisible comfort zone.
The funny thing is that when we talk about this people describe feeling anxious about the mere idea. In an article titled How Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Can Help Reduce Anxiety the author challenges this idea with their own personal experiences with change. While challenging herself didn’t completely eliminate her anxiety she found that anxiety was not who she was. It opened the door to what was possible.
The “comfort zone” defined by Lifehacker as a “behavioral space where your activities and behaviors first a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk.” Of course this sounds great but it doesn’t leave much room for change, growth and new experiences. Huffington Post gives us 6 Reasons to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and they are pretty compelling. They suggest that trying new things can make you more creative, help you perform at your peak and even help you age better!
So where can you start? In Lori Thayer’s article Step Out Of The Comfort Zone from Life Hack she gives ideas for small, medium and huge steps. While I wouldn’t recommend some of the huge steps they did make me smile. I mean go camping with bears?! Maybe start small like signing up for a computer class, saying hello to a new person every day or not reading your email every time you hear that incoming mail sound.
In How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: 3 Helpful Habits, writer Henrik Edberg suggests mixing it up a bit. He recommends eating something new or changing your daily route. If you aren’t quite ready to go it alone you could bring a friend along to the gym or that party you want to go to. Regardless of what the change is you are opening yourself to new experiences and it can be exciting and a bit scary but you will notice a difference!