From a psychological standpoint your comfort
zone is an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a
sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.
For the most part your comfort zone is a reflection of your self-image
and how you think and expect things should be.
When you are in an
uncomfortable situation, or one that doesn't fit your expectations,
you usually do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable again.
many people, even if they are unhappy or unfulfilled, their natural
inclination is to stay within the comfort zone simply because it is
familiar and safe. Many stay in jobs, relationships, and situations
that have long since lost their relevance only because they are afraid
of the unknown. The truth is that security does not reside in anything
outside of ourselves; instead, it lies within us.
Unfortunately, if you choose to remain in your comfort zone you
will never find out what your true potential is or what you are
capable of achieving. Nor can you really succeed at anything without
venturing out of the comfort of your safety net.
If, however, you make the decision to move beyond the
circumstances, people, and experiences you are familiar with, you move
out of your comfort zone and onto the path of personal development. It
is a path that forces you to stretch yourself, push your limits and
become more than you were.
Of course you don't have to do anything extraordinarily out of
character, like climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the English Channel
if you have no inclination or desire for it. Stretching yourself does
not have to be that extreme.
Anyone who takes a new subject in school, learns a new language,
takes up a new sport or starts a new job, operates out of their
comfort zone in the beginning.
Ultimately, if you ever want to achieve anything noteworthy or out
of the ordinary expanding your comfort zone is a must!
Here are some other things you can do:
Break from a routine or habit
you've had for a long time and
find a different, perhaps better way to do it.
If you're typically a sedentary person take a break from reading
or the computer and find a physical activity you can enjoy and
partake in. If you're normally very active, learn to wind down,
read or relax.
Read a book, watch a movie or listen to
music in a genre you're
not familiar with. If you usually read mysteries, try reading an
inspiring biography, if you like action movies, try a romantic
comedy, if you just listen to rock, try some jazz music.
If you happen to be a shy person and have trouble speaking in front
of people, join a group like Toastmasters International where they
encourage you to speak in public by using positive and helpful
techniques. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you'll
be and the better you will feel about yourself.
Go to an ethnic restaurant and try a dish from a culture
different from your own. It will stimulate your taste buds and
possibly open up a whole new cuisine.
Volunteer at the downtown mission or soup kitchen for a day and
realize how comfortable your life really is, while helping someone
at the same time.