Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Comfort zones are so-called for a reason. They’re comfortable places to be, a psychological state in which a person feels safe, secure and at ease. It can refer to a physical or emotional space, as well as a routine or set of behaviours an individual is familiar with, and they feel confident in their abilities to handle them.
For example, a person’s comfort zone might be their home, workplace or social circle. It could also be a particular way of approaching tasks or challenges, such as always doing things in a certain order or avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable.
Not knowing what’s going to happen next is generally stressful. Uncertainty signals that you’re unsure of your surroundings, your skills or both. However, research by America’s Yale University has shown uncertainty also signals the brain to kick-start learning. So, while new situations might be uncomfortable, they’re also essential if you want to make the most of your brain.
It’s a fact that growth and progress often come from taking risks and embracing new experiences – stepping outside of your comfort zone can lead to some of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in life.
Ways to inject some variety, uncertainty and newness into your daily life to help you step out of the comfort zone could include:
Do daily things differently. In everyday life, there are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself. Turn off your smartphone or television while having dinner, take a different route to work, or just slow down and take in the surroundings on a walk. These little changes break you out of old, comfortable routines.
Get creative. Creativity – anything from writing a poem to building a business – usually involves an element of risk. Creative endeavours are about stepping into the unknown, and are a great way to train yourself to have a growth mindset.
Introduce yourself to someone new. Meeting new people can often open our eyes to new perspectives and help us to gain new knowledge and ideas. Often, what holds us back from getting to know new people is fear of judgement – but remember, we usually judge ourselves far more than anyone else will be judging us.
Start a new project. It might fail but you’re guaranteed to learn something new.
Talk to people you disagree with. It’s both an empathy and a learning booster.
Spice up your shopping. If you usually stick to the same supermarket or shopping list every week, then why not spice things up by adding a couple of items to your basket that you’d never usually think to try? Your meals and snacks can instantly become much more exciting when you start exploring different tastes and trying new recipes.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so rest assured it’s totally fine to take small, methodical steps, moving on to larger, bolder ones. Leaving behind the comfort zone doesn’t mean recklessly throwing caution to the wind. Every step forward is progress.
Four Steps to Leaving Your ‘Comfort Zone’
1 COMFORT ZONE – Feeling safe and in control.
2 FEAR ZONE – Feeling fearful, searching for excuses, lacking self-confidence.
3 LEARNING ZONE – Learning, dealing with challenges and extending the comfort zone.
4 GROWTH ZONE – Growing, setting new goals, finding purpose, realising dreams and aspirations.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum