Your comfort zone, is officially a psychological state and, as the name indicates, it should feel cosy. After all that is what it is for to keep you feeling warm, comfortable and safe in your life and your surroundings. You should feel cosy, a bit like a warm comfortable bed that you don’t want to leave on a cold and dark winters morning. Why would you, it feels nicer in there. Pull the quilt up and stay there!
Think about this though, what would you achieve if you never moved from that warm and comfortable bed?
Your comfort zone is a place where everything is is familiar, the reason you like it is because within that zone you can function at an easy steady level. There is minimal anxiety, nothing to challenge or test you, you feel like you have control and can enjoy patterns, behaviours and routines that are familiar and comfortable and therefore, comforting.
The problem with this comfort zone is that, just like that warm bed, it is not possible to achieve anything new in that zone, it is a state of existing rather than growing, nothing new can happen in your comfort zone because the same actions, thoughts and words, patterns and routines will always lead to the same result. A different result needs a different approach so welcome to optimal anxiety just outside your comfort zone.
A state of optimal anxiety is the slight anxiety or stress when you do something JUST outside your comfort zone. This does not have to be a major step or change and in fact, it is best if it is not. If you consistently and continuously take small but regular steps you can achieve some amazing results.
There is nothing wrong with your comfort zone, you need that space, we all do, to live in and to enjoy some stress and anxiety free periods. You can use the space to look at what is outside of your comfort zone what do you want to do or become that seems out of reach at the moment and how will you get there.
Some drastic actions in life, like emigrating for example take us too far out of our comfort zone in one giant step, the heightened stress and anxiety caused is overwhelming and it is impossible to function efficiently until we become accustomed to our new surroundings and situation and stress drops to optimal. Then we can grow and properly experience our new circumstances.
Sometimes these big leaps are the only option but for true and sustainable personal growth take small steps, savour the benefits it brings, settle into your new and enlarged comfort zone before you take the next step and continue expanding what you expect of yourself, others and from your life.
Most importantly do not stagnate in your comfort zone, you are supposed to enjoy the safety of it but, use it as a springboard for new experiences. Do not stay in there! You cannot reach your full potential in there so step out of it once in a while.