Comfort Zone – Help or Hinderance?

Our comfort zone is a place where we feel safe, protected and peaceful… For much of the time, it can feel like the best place to be. It is beneficial to have a calm spot that you can return to, particularly as it can be so exhausting just getting through the day with your anxiety. Feeling on edge all day means that you need time to ‘switch off’ and have a break. For these moments, your comfort zone can offer you a space to help you relax and re-energise.

But… it is also important to challenge yourself to move forward and not get stuck in your comfort zone. If we stay here too long, we will start to stagnate, rather than stretch, learn and challenge ourselves. So how do we find the balance? How can we slowly push the boundaries of our comfort zone without putting ourselves on the back foot? I find this quotation hits the spot:

A ship is safe in harbour, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd 

So the way that I interpret this, metaphorically speaking, is that we all need to return to harbour to refuel and check that the boat is running well. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to be continuously out on the choppy seas. However, we are not meant to be forever stuck in the harbour – we also need to be sailing to maximise the boat’s potential.

If you get stuck out on the open sea in a storm, ask how you can make yourself feel more comfortable. You do have the choice – to influence and decide how you want to feel.

Go through a trial experimenting with what works well for you and how you can find the right balance between staying in the harbour and being out on the open seas. Even just remembering this quote and what it stands for can help be hugely beneficial.

If you do find yourself out of your comfort zone and feeling overwhelmed, use this quick tip to help you:

Toolbox: Decide you’re (not) going in circles
1. When the anxiety starts to rise, draw (in your minds eye) two circles on the floor – one where you are standing that can be labelled ‘now’ and the other labelled with whatever your comfort zone represents (for example, ‘home’, ‘shower’, ‘running’, ‘café’).

2. Connect to where you are now – all the good and the bad emotions that might be present. Then consider what the ‘safe place’ entails – perhaps it feels calm, peaceful, relaxing.

3. Then, step from ‘now’ to your comfort zone (whatever the second circle is labelled).

4. Immediately notice how much lighter, springier and happier this place feels and be aware of the impact on your body.  

NB try and consider what the second circle represents when you are calm and relaxed. It will be hard to connect with this state if you are feeling anxious and in new surroundings, so having it “to hand” and ready to go for when you are out will be helpful.  

#Anxiety #GenerationPanic #comfortzone #Toolbox

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