Your comfort zone is a mental space where your activities and behaviors fit inside a nice steady routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. When you stay inside your comfort zone you benefit in obvious ways, enjoying regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.
When we are able to maintain a steady and predictable state, then we can anticipate consistent results. And this sounds pretty good, until we want something new, or our circumstances change.
In order to create change, we need to create a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is where your mental productivity and performance reach their peak, and it's just outside your comfort zone, where Learning and Growth take place.
Know The Zones
Immediately outside our comfort zone is a place of uncertainty and potential fear. There is no direction here. It is just uncomfortable. Anxiety can rise and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.
In order to begin to experience some relief from that discomfort, we need to move farther out of our comfort zone - into the "Learning Zone." Here we can begin to problem solve and learn new information. We are far enough out of our comfort zone that the anxiety levels drop and we experience a productive amount of positive stress, and we can put that energy to good use. This is where we are when things begin to happen.
The further away from our comfort zone we move, the more things start to look less familiar and we are challenged to create new innovative ways to address new and unfamiliar issues. This is our “Growth Zone.” This is where it is all new territory, and we are able to set new goals and begin to act on them.
We have a natural tendency to return to a neutral, familiar, and comfortable state. This is what makes the “Fear Zone” the most uncomfortable place, because it represents the sudden change from a steady comfortable place. But once we step beyond that fear, we allow ourselves to grow, expand, and succeed!
Your comfort zone is neither good nor bad. It's a natural state of familiarity and, well, comfort. Leaving it means increased risk and sometimes increased uncertainty, but remember that both of those can be managed. And don't just think of your comfort zone as something holding you back. We need that comfortable head-space so that we can process the changes we create when we leave it.
What Happens When You Leave Your Comfort Zone?
You'll be more productive. Comfort diminishes productivity. Without the sense of unease that comes from having deadlines and expectations, we can find ourselves doing the minimum required to get by. We lack the drive and ambition to do more and learn new things. Pushing your personal boundaries can help you hit your stride sooner, get more done, and find smarter ways to work.
When you step out of your comfort zone, you have the benefit of learning that you are okay outside of that comforting familiar sameness, and you'll have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes. By taking risks in a controlled fashion and challenging yourself to things you normally wouldn't do, you can experience some of that uncertainty in a controlled, manageable environment. Learning to live outside your comfort zone when you choose to can prepare you for managing unexpected and less controlled life changes.
Seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspire us and educate us in ways that other methods do not. Trying new things can make us reflect on our old ideas and where they clash with our new knowledge, and inspire us to learn more and challenge confirmation bias (our tendency to only seek out information we already agree with). Even in the short term, a positively uncomfortable experience can help us brainstorm, see old problems in a new light, and tackle the challenges we face with new energy.
How to Take That First Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Outside of your comfort zone can be a good place to be. As you’re experimenting with new things, remember that everyone's comfort zone is different, and there is no wrong way to go about this. You don’t have to live by anyone else’s expectations.
Choose one everyday thing to do differently. Take a different route to work. Change up your morning routine or move your furniture around. Make one change, whether large or small, in the way you do an everyday thing.
Once you've made that one small change, look for the perspective shift that comes from the change you’ve made! Look for the new ideas that sprout up because of the changes you’ve made, even if they’re negative. And remember - this is about learning. Don't be discouraged if things don't work out the way you planned. You can always make a change.
With each small change you make, it becomes easier to step out of your comfort zone. You get the same benefits whether you dive in head first or start slowly, so feel free to move forward however you choose.
Return To Your Comfort Zone from Time to Time
You can't live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You’ll need to come back to process your experiences. Think of returning to your cozy comfort zone as a restorative time. It is necessary from time to time because it allows us to recharge and get us ready for our next adventure.
The point of stepping out of your comfort zone is to embrace new experiences without the things that had been holding you back. Come back to your comfort zone to take the time to reflect on your experiences so you can reap the benefits and apply them to your day to day activities. Then do something else interesting and new. Make it a habit if you can. Try something new every week, or every month.
And don't limit yourself to big, huge experiences. Maybe meditation pushes you out of your comfort zone just as much as bungee jumping. The goal is to learn what you're really capable of.
The Role of Hypnosis
Moving out of your comfort zone requires moving through some fear and anxiety. Hypnosis is an excellent tool for overcoming self-doubt, relieving anxiety, and eliminating negative self-talk that may be holding you back. In just a short amount of time you can remove the internal barriers that may have you stuck in place.
Once you start learning and exploring, you will want to create some changes in your life. A lot will happen automatically as a result of your new experiences, but some of those changes will conflict with some of your past patterns and beliefs. Hypnosis can help you let go of those old habits and patterns that no longer work for you and build up your new foundation of how you want your life to be.🍥