Comfort Zones…we all have them.
Comfort Zones are a very natural state. Each of us has our own “comfort zone” which, more than an actual place, is a psychological/emotional/ behavioural state that defines our routines and our daily life. Being in your comfort zone implies familiarity, safety, and security.
The brain loves a comfort zone…it makes life so much easier… you see you can pretty much sleepwalk your way through life just moving from Comfort Zone to Comfort Zone.
You get up at the same time, you eat the same breakfast, you drive the same route to work, you park in the same spot every day. You have probably been sitting in your role at work for some years now, enjoying it, putting your days in. After work you drive back the same way, have the same food for supper, watch the same shows and fall back into bed. All on a kind of auto pilot. Easy ..right?
If all you ever do is strive to stay wrapped up in your little cocoon, keeping warm and safe, you may be missing out on quite a lot—maybe no new experiences, no challenges, and no risks.
Very simply, what we fear most about challenging ourselves is that we may fail and/or get hurt in the process.
This is learned behaviour, perhaps as a young woman you had a knock back, some uncomfortable feedback, failed a test, had a relationship breakdown etc etc and so your brain, which is always protecting you, supported throughout the hard times by establishing a space that was safe and comfortable. Your comfort zones.
You will no doubt have heard the expression that “ Like Breeds Like”, once you become accustomed to taking the easy route, staying in the comfort zone then that way of thinking begins to merge into other areas of life. Often seamlessly and without your even consciously choosing.
So if Comfort Zones are about being safe…why on earth would you want to change that???
3 Reasons Why You Want to Step Outside Your Comfort Zones
- You will Create Change.
What ever change you want to make it lies just outside your comfort zone. To change you need to push your boundaries and take risks. So whether you want to get a new job, shed the weight that is unnecessary for you, run a marathon or enjoy your relationship more you need to step outside that comfort zone.
- You Will Deal with The Unexpected Better
Taking a risk in a controlled environment where the challenge is manageable and the threat of failure or hurt is low is a great way to change your thought patterns in such a way that when the big unexpected stuff come along…and it always does… your brain is better primed to cope with the challenge.
- You will naturally Start to Push Other Boundaries.
Productive Discomfort is what the psychiatry boffins call it, as you begin to train your brain to look for the new way of doing something and in turn create that discomfort which means that your brain will begin naturally to push a little further in many other ways.
So How Do You Step Outside Your Comfort Zones?
- Do One Thing Differently Every Day
Take a new route to work. Brush your teeth with a different hand. Get a new cup for your coffee.
Changes doesn’t need to be all about the big stuff. Start by getting the brain used to change. You will be surprised how quickly this starts to open up your mind to other bigger changes.
One of the small changes we make on retreats is that for our Caffeine Hit every morning before breakfast we only serve our tea or coffee BLACK. No milk, no cream, no sugar no sweeteners. I can tell you that this small change feels huge to some people. But over the last few years, I have found that those who embrace the change are much more likely to adopt other more meaningful changes through the week.
What would be the one small change you could begin to make that will push your comfort zones?
- Push Your Personal Boundaries
Learn a new language. Volunteer at a local charity. Travel to a new destination. Take up meditation.
Once you have begun to initiate change through your small daily challenges you are ready to step up. What are your personal boundaries, are you nervous about meeting new people, of travelling alone, of failing a task? Choose something that has a little more risk associated with the change and set yourself a challenge.
On retreat every week we have a challenge for our retreaters. It is usually a walk or cycle or swim..something which at the beginning of the week they would have said: “I’ll never do that”. We don’t tell them it’s coming but we build up to it. I can tell you that week after week, year after year we have so many retreaters who are simply bursting with pride, a sense of achievement and happiness at having achieved something they thought was beyond them. Often the only thing stopping you is the limitation you set in your own mind.
Which brings me nicely to ..
- Practice Positive Thinking
Your thoughts can set you up for success or failure…it is really your choice which one you achieve.
It’s quite simple: you can do anything you think you can do.
If you think you can improve your life, your health and your body you can. If you think you’re stuck you’re right about that also. After all, your thoughts lead to behaviours, behaviours lead to habits, and habits create your life.
We start almost all our retreats with a group hypnotherapy session in which we ask you to get really clear about what you want to achieve in your time on retreat. We ask you to get really clear about how your time on retreat can support you when you return home. Visualising a positive outcome and allowing the feelings, the thoughts the ideas to all merge and mingle sets you up for a successful week. (does this all sound a bit wah wah for you LOL)
Before you can make any change happen you need to acknowledge where you are right now…and that means identifying and acknowledging your comfort zones so that you can then begin to step outside them and achieve exactly what you want and deserve.