What if getting out of your comfort zone makes you happier?
Published Jun 30, 2023 • By Candice Salomé
Tired of your daily routine? Looking for new adventures? There are a number of ways to get away from it all. One of them is to get out of your comfort zone.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be perceived as anxiety-provoking and risky. But this attitude is particularly beneficial for personal and/or professional development.
So what does it mean to "get out of your comfort zone"? How do you go about it? What are the mental health benefits?
We tell you all about it in our article!
What does it mean to "step out of your comfort zone"?
Our daily lives are made up of repetitions: brushing our teeth, going to work, making dinner... Some actions are even predictable and done automatically. And if we're not careful, we can quickly fall into a monotonous routine.
These automatisms are nevertheless useful, as they enable us to perform certain actions without too much effort. They give us more time to spend on more complex issues.
However, when these automatisms represent the essential part of our daily lives, there is a real danger to our mental health. In the long term, it can even be a factor in cognitive decline.
The "comfort zone" is a psychological state in which things are familiar. It's a zone where we feel comfortable and secure, in control of our environment, and where stress levels are at their lowest. This zone therefore has soothing and invigorating virtues.
In the "comfort zone", our behavior is routine. We do the same activities, meet the same people, visit the same places... The longer we stay in this zone, the stronger it becomes, and the more difficult it is to live new experiences, as fear and apprehension of the unknown grow.
The comfort zone doesn't allow for personal growth and all the associated processes - such as learning new behaviors or skills - that enable us to achieve a higher degree of satisfaction in life.
Why step out of your comfort zone?
Children regularly leave their comfort zones: to learn to walk, to ride a bike, to make new friends... They love to discover and explore.
Unfortunately, with age, curiosity and daring fade to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual - consciously or unconsciously. And yet, stepping out of our comfort zone promotes personal and professional fulfillment. It helps us to discover unsuspected assets within ourselves, and to marvel anew at what surrounds us.
By stepping out of your comfort zone, you'll :
Increase your self-confidence
As soon as you dare to do something new for which you used to feel fear or dread, you'll realize that you can do it. This will bring you joy and pride. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you'll gain confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Stimulate your creativity
Stepping out of your comfort zone helps stimulate your creativity. Thanks to this, it's possible to envisage new solutions to the challenges and problems that life can throw at us! Novelty and the unexpected fuel your imagination. In this way, we widen the field of possibilities, discover new points of view, and discover new ways of doing/reacting to life's problems.
Learn new things
In order to learn new things and new skills, it's essential to get out of your comfort zone and into the "growth zone", where learning is possible. This learning will lead you to new opportunities.
Discover new talents
By experimenting with new horizons, you'll be able to discover some of your hidden, and probably unsuspected, talents. You'll realize that you're capable of doing things you never thought possible.
Last but not least, getting out of your comfort zone is a major contributor to your happiness. To combat hedonic adaptation - the fact that we always end up returning to a neutral level of happiness after a positive event - it's important to regularly discover, develop or deepen new interests and skills.
What's more, stimulating your curiosity or sense of personal effectiveness means overcoming difficulties or stressful situations. Alternating between comfort zones and growth zones is therefore a prerequisite for personal fulfillment.
How to get out of your comfort zone?
The best way to get out of your comfort zone is to perform small actions on a regular basis. This means taking on small challenges to familiarize yourself with discomfort.
These small actions require little effort, but will help you to begin the process of change you want to achieve.
For example, if you want to get back into sports, a small action would be to prepare your sports gear the day before and put it in your living room - or somewhere visible - to encourage you to exercise.
Another example: if your dream is to travel to the other side of the world, but you're afraid of doing so, why not book a flight that can be cancelled at no extra cost? That way, you can always retract your booking if you feel the need.
Through these small actions, you'll develop new beliefs about yourself and what you're capable of doing. The results will motivate and encourage you. And the more you believe in yourself, the greater your ability to face the unknown.
The more you believe in yourself, the more you'll be able to develop your potential. You'll start to believe that what you want is achievable and attainable. You will then do your best to achieve it, and in so doing, develop your skills and acquire new ones.
Once the process has begun, you enter a virtuous circle. Your confidence grows, and discomfort may even become your new comfort. And you'll take on bigger and bigger challenges!
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