This is a bit of a digression from what I normally, blog about it is more of a lifestyle post and represents something that I have noticed. That is very prominent in my own life everything you read in this post, can relate to eating food and losing weight.
The reason I say that is because they can also have fear related aspects to them. Some people in a study in France were scared of exercising, just in case they did some damage to their bodies. Or you can be scared of not having something to eat. Or even losing weight
Why do we actually have a comfort zone then, and how is it created?. This tends to be one of those things that, encroaches upon us. With out even realising it, our boundaries can become smaller and smaller over a period of time. But we may or may not be actually consciously aware of this.
It’s more of a subconscious way of being, sometimes the reasons this happens is that something from our past. Has caused us a lot of pain, or it could be a comment that was quite hurtful, and knocked our confidence.
What happens when we are stuck in them
When you get stuck in your comfort zone you can think of it as a circle, and you tend to stay inside it a bit like a virtual bubble. And rather than stepping out of it every so often and feeling some sort of discomfort. We tend to stay inside it and then start to create a very inhibited and restricted lifestyle as a result of behaving this way.
Not only does your world become smaller, it can also become very boring. The reason for this is you’re not really challenging yourself to take any risks. The thought of actually doing something risky, seems far too scary we build these mental pictures up in our minds.
Of what could happen to us, and as long as we continue to do this the fear will always be there. And getting out of your comfort zone will be even harder. So this in effect creates a vicious circle and is probably likely to cause such problems as anxiety and depression.
Frustration itself is a forerunner for anxiety which in turn leads to depression. It’s your minds way of telling you not to do something. As soon as the amygdala in your brain sees you try to do something, out of the ordinary it will start the process of generating the fear.
Unless you actually start to face it then, and only then will the fear start to shrink.
How they affect us
If you are stuck in a comfort zone here are some of the things that you might have going on in your life.
Feeling very unfulfilled with your life as it is at the moment
Suffering from apathy, which means no real passion in your life, it will feel quite emotionless probably the same sort of emotion a bit like a flat line
Be lacing direction in your life, and not doing what you really want to do have lots of ideas but never really making something of them
You may have a lack of confidence and some self-esteem issues also
Here are some examples which may be prominent in your life, when you tend to get stuck inside a comfort zone.
when we do things the same way. Day in and day out, it becomes automatic our brains make synaptic connections and clusters of brain cells are formed. In order to make doing the particular task at hand easier. So the more we do a particular thing our brain realises it needs more cells in order to do this process.
And it goes about the process of making it automatic so that, you are able to do other things when the time comes this is why it is easy to create bad habits.
Strange as it may seem we do work very hard at them. Even though a lot of them work against us. There is a saying in NLP which in case you are not familiar with means Neuro Linguistic Programming, which says that if you do one thing one way.
Then you are behaving like a robot, do something two different ways then you are starting to see some changes, do something three different ways then you will see very big changes.
Going through the motions
Every day runs into another it’s almost if as you are on autopilot, this might be a typical day for you or anybody for that matter. Get up get dressed, go downstairs, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, go to work, come home, eat your dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. Now this is only a hypothetical scenario and only represents a basic day but if you look at it. It can represent overtime quite a boring routine. And some people probably do this every day. Because it seems quite normal.
When you live your life from the realms of a comfort zone it does become very restrictive, and there may be so many things that you would like to do, but don’t due to a lack of fear.
Just like a house that has a heating system in that monitors temperature. We have something in our minds that monitors our comfort zone if you like, it’s constantly being regulated much the same as the thermostat in the house. As we get near to the edge of our comfort zone, we might start to feel slightly anxious and scared.
Almost as if something terrible is going to happen, even though it isn’t so, when we get close to this feeling we tend to step back. So once the fear/threat has gone, we tend to relax go back in our comfort zone and that is where we stay. And this is going on all day long as long as we are out in the wide world.
This actually acts as a red light in our minds, much the same as a traffic light signal. Telling us to stop when really we shouldn’t be. When we tend to be in a state of mind such as this. We are far less likely to want to take risks so because of this.
Our world shrinks yet again. This ultimately stops us from growing, growth is a great thing once you are growing.
Your whole mindset tends to change you want to try new things, feel far more adventurous and liberated, and feel less restricted in your lifestyle which is far more exciting.
When you are growing your confidence will grow through the roof, and you will be willing to take more risks and try different things. If you are on the flip side however, you tend to be stuck in the middle where you feel comfortable and don’t want to move either side. If you can imagine drawing a line in the sand and keeping yourself the other side of it.
That is where your comfort zone is, it’s not until you actually step out of it that you notice how different things are. The whole world seems a totally different place, it seems open and inviting and welcoming and far less scary.
What can we actually do?
Here are a few examples of things to try they don’t need to be massive things just anything that makes change.
Go home a different way
Do something different at lunchtime
Talk to a stranger in a shop or where ever you may be, this might not be a good idea for children though
Try eating somewhere else a different restaurant
Do something that you have always wanted to do but always felt afraid to do it
Experiment with different ways of doing things, for example have you always wanted to do your own DIY for example, but always thought you couldn’t do it. Have a go yourself you might be surprised what you find
Go on a team building activity holiday not only will this give you interaction with other people, you will be able to strengthen other skills which you might not have known that you had
Here is one less thing to finish this off get a sheet of paper and write down 50 things to get you out of your comfort zone, when you first start to think about doing this it may seem very hard. But you may not even realise that they are there.
One of the reasons I decided to write this post is it something that has been, a very big part of my life and I thought people may be able to relate to it like I have myself. So on a closing note bust out of your comfort zone and feel comfortable doing it.
A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.