Your life is pretty easy and relaxed. You don’t usually have any problems and you’re able to control most situations to make yourself feel comfortable. But, in the deepest part of your brain, you’re craving something new, something that will make you feel free and alive…you’re looking for a better life.
If you can relate to this, even a little bit, you need a change in your life. Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way you’ll grow and live your dreams!
Maybe you’re bored at work and want a change, but haven’t done anything to change the situation, or maybe you know you’re not really in love with your partner anymore, but you’re comfortable together so you don’t want to risk losing them. You like learning languages, or playing sports, or reading, or going on adventures, but you find it hard to actually start anything new…If you think this may be you, keep reading.
What is the Comfort Zone? It’s a mental state made up of different states where we feel safe, protected, and comfortable with our lives. The comfort zone is different for anyone, so what may be one person’s comfort zone is completely different from another person’s. This way of living might actually be positive for a period of time, but if we get used to it, it might cause us to be passive and lazy when dealing with new situations. Leaving the comfort zone is essential for our personal development, and can help prevent frustration and unhappiness long term.
Did you know that the attachment we feel towards our comfort zone is actually produced in our brains, in the reticular formation, which is the part of the brain that regulates sleep, pain, movements, etc. So, if you think about it, it really means that the brain can be lazy sometimes. When you do something out of the ordinary, maybe you take a new route to work or go on an adventure, your brain uses more energy because it has to work harder to process and be alert to new and different information.
This is why the brain loves routine. When buy the same things at the grocery store every week, your brain can “disconnect” and go on standby. As you already know where the things are that you need, your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to look out for the foods you’re choosing.
Why should we get out of our comfort zones?
You may find yourself asking, why would I want to leave my comfort zone if I’m so comfortable here? Well, just think about what you’re missing. Here’s an example:
Think of a lower class, working family who live comfortably within their own comfort zone. One day, something happens and they are forced to work and change their lives. Initially, it’s hard on everyone, but after a while they realize that they’ve managed to improve their lives and make a full 360º.
That family was forced to make a change, and thanks to that necessity, they got out of their comfort zone and ended up with a better life. But, keep in mind that it’s not only economic things that can change, but a whole range of experiences, ideas, and material things can change as well, and all it takes is the first step out of your comfort zone. A whole new world is waiting for you, why not give it a try?
Have you decided to get out of your comfort zone? Here are some tips to help you out!
Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t always easy and you’ll need to really stick with it until you finally get out. But remember, nothing is impossible…you can do it!
1. Figure out where your comfort zone is.
Ask yourself what makes you nervous or uncomfortable. Think about your past, your present, and what you want in the future. Ask yourself things like “Am I happy with what I have, or do I want more even though it’ll be more work?” “Am I happy with my comfortable life, or do I want to take on new challenges and goals?”
Think about your job or your partner. Do you want to keep your boring job, or find something that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something? Would you rather stay with your partner, even though you don’t feel really happy, or do you want to give yourself the chance to find someone you really love?
2. Make a goal and stick with it.
Goals are specific and personal to everyone. Think about what you want, and acknowledge each little victory that you achieve. Think will help your self-esteem and become more self-confident. “I’m doing something I never thought I could do“.
3. Accept your mistakes.
It may be a little rocky at first and it’s normal to be scared or nervous about getting out of your comfort zone. Be positive and accept that you’re not perfect, and that there may be some situations that are out of your control. If you fall, get back up and try again. Remember that mistakes are life’s best teachers. You’re likely to learn more and grow personally by making mistakes than erring on the safe side.
This doesn’t only mean personal changes, but physical, environmental changes. Look for something new, meet new people, try new things, change up your house or your room, move your bed, buy a new carpet, change your hair…. There are a ton of options, and it all depends on you. You may even want to think about mindfulness as a possible option. It could help you feel more grounded and happier overall.
5. Do the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Do you get nervous meeting new people? Think about the excuses that you make up and how much time you put into thinking of why not to do something. Face your fears little by little. Going slowly and making little changes will help make you feel more comfortable as you go along. You see how you’ll feel like you have more control over your life.
Remember that a little bit of stress or anxiety can be helpful, and can help us achieve our goals.
6. Having family or friends who support you is important.
Ask your family to help you overcome some of your fears that keep you back. Support, love, and respect can go a long way.
7. Letting loose ISN’T a bad thing.
Sometimes we keep ourselves from saying or doing something because we’re worried about how others will perceive us. But, you don’t need to worry about what other people think of you. Learn how to laugh at yourself, let your friends laugh at you… and laugh with them! Say something silly or do a funny dance, but don’t worry about what other people are thinking.
8. Take risks.
Taking risks is a vital part of reaching our goals. Like Muhammad Ali said: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”. You’re much more likely to regret not doing something, rather than taking the risk and going for it!
9. Relish in the unknown
How long has it been since you’ve tried something new? Take a leap of faith and try something new, remember that there are no second chances at life. But, trying new things and enjoying the unknown doesn’t mean you should be reckless!
10. Fight for what you want, and don’t let anyone hold you back.
The things that give us the most joy are usually the things that we have to fight for. You might feel like it’s too hard, like you don’t have the motivation to do it, or that staying back in your comfort zone is better, but remember that you have to work for what you want. Besides, once you reach your goal, you will be an example to others.
Molly works for CogniFit, a major vendor en neuropsychological assessments that work to improve the user’s cognitive skills. Molly is a writer who specializes in psychology and neuroscience, and aims to learn from and inspire every person that she meets. For more information, visit www.cognifit.com.