According to research, once we’ve learnt and adjusted to the best way of doing something, and can comfortably repeat it, our brain’s learning centres essentially shut down. This allows us to go into ‘autopilot mode’, so that we no longer have to put as much effort into the things we do … this is known as your comfort zone, a space where we feel comfortable, and can usually predict what’s going to happen next.
Because we know this space well, we often don’t need to be as engaged there, and can essentially relax. It can make us feel safe and secure and this can make us not want to leave it very often, if at all.
Sadly, this makes personal development difficult to achieve because moving forward and achieving goals needs us to step outside of our comfort zone and open ourselves up to new knowledge, opportunities, and experiences.
So, if you are needing to step outside of your comfort zone then here are 8 Wise Ways to help you do that.
1. Change up your routine
If you always eat lunch at the same time every day or in the same place, have the same evening routine, or always walk the same route to work, why not switch things up a bit? Changing small things about your routine can help you to engage more with your surroundings and give you the confidence to challenge yourself in other areas of your life too.
2. Introduce yourself to someone new
Meeting new people can open your eyes to new perspectives and help you gain new knowledge and ideas. Often, what holds us back from getting to know new people is fear of judgement. But it’s important to remember we’re often our own worst critics and usually judge ourselves far more than anyone else will.
3. Move towards your fears, rather than away from them
Naturally, we tend to retreat away from the things that scare us and move towards what we perceive to be safer spaces. But one of the best ways to deal with fear is to move towards it and tackle what you’re afraid of head-on. When we overcome or defeat the thing that scares us, not only do we feel a great sense of reward, but we also increase our resilience and feel more confident in our ability to tackle whatever challenge comes our way next.
4. Buy some different food at the supermarket or try some new recipes
If you usually stick to the same shopping list every week, why not spice things up by adding at least two or three things to your shopping basket that you’d never usually think to try?
Your meals and snacks can instantly become much more exciting when you start exploring different tastes.
5. Have some open and honest conversations with the people around you
Sometimes the conversations that feel the most awkward or difficult are the most important. For example, asking your employer for a pay rise or speaking to your partner about issues in your relationship. Often, we avoid conversations like these because we’re worried about what the other person might say. But ultimately, it’s better to speak up, find out where you stand, and work out where to go from there. Remaining silent can leave you wishing you’d the courage to ask for what you really want or to say how you really feel.
6. Be more spontaneous
The more time we spend thinking about stepping outside of our comfort zone, the less likely we are to do it. Overthinking often leads to cats stop hiding – and if we spend enough time considering what might go wrong, it can feel much more difficult to act. Check out my recent 8 Wise Ways to Stop Overthinking. Sometimes, it’s better to go with your gut instinct and make decisions quickly before you have time to talk yourself out of them. Whether it’s deciding if you should book a weekend away with a friend, making that speech at a work event, or trying a new recipe for dinner.
7. Try a new outfit or hairstyle
Many of us shy away from styles of clothing or hair we love but simply don’t feel confident enough to be seen with. It can sometimes be uncomfortable to make bolder fashion choices due to fear that it might draw more attention, or that people will judge you. If this sounds familiar, it can be helpful to start by making some style choices based on what makes you feel good, rather than what helps you to feel accepted by others. The more you do this, the more connected you’ll feel to who you truly are, and the less you’ll care what others think. This can be incredibly liberating.
8. Go to dinner or to the cinema by yourself
This is something that everyone should do at least once. Society teaches us that going to these places is something that we should do with friends or family – but there’s something very empowering about breaking that mould and going it alone. This is also a great way to work on embracing your own company and being happy in your own skin.
To boost your intellectual wellness, you need to be consciously working to escape your own comfort zone because ultimately, it’s a self-built prison limiting your from being the best version of yourself and living your best life – a healthier happier one.
If you have recognised a need to break free from your comfort zone, then the 8 Wise™ Wellness Programme could be for you. It is available as one to one coaching sessions, training, through our book resources and podcast and through our new membership platform, launching soon. Through the programme you can develop the knowledge and skills needed to ‘Live the 8 Wise Way’ and develop optimal mental health and wellbeing for an improved quality of life.
If you would like to book a session or register for our next programme, get in touch today.
For more information on 8Wise and the mental health services provided check out the rest of this website.