Q. What is your Comfort Zone?

Your Comfort Zone is not always comfortable! You can be in pain, anguish and full of fear, but it’s the pain, anguish and fear that you know, that which you can rely on to happen. It’s not nice, but at least you know how ‘not nice’ it is. Your Comfort Zone has become your prison.

It may be more about embarrassment, you don’t believe you can handle the ‘what will they be thinking’ scenario, so you keep doing what others expect from you.

Our Comfort Zone is built on our experiences, our beliefs.

Example 1A friend invites me for a coffee – I’ve met her for a coffee many times and believe I can do it. It’s within my Comfort Zone.

Example 2A friend invites me to a party – I haven’t met her other friends and have beliefs that ‘I’m not confident in groups’, ‘I’m not good at small talk’, these beliefs will shape my response, my behaviour. Just the thought of going causes me anxiety. I am stepping outside of my Comfort Zone. It feels bad, I conjure up a whole story of how I’ll make a fool of myself and convince myself it’s best not to go. I make up an excuse for not attending and breathe a sigh of relief as I shrink back into my Comfort Zone.

The result is that I sit in on my own knowing that the party will be in full swing and feel sorry for myself. My Chatterbox however is having a party in my head, telling me how pathetic I am!

 Here’s 3 ideas to help you stretch your Comfort Zone:

1. Notice what is outside your Comfort Zone.

You can’t face your fears if you don’t know what they are. When you feel a bit awkward, uncomfortable or scared you are operating outside your Comfort Zone. Our tendency is to try and quell these feelings or remove them, so I suggest you sit with them, follow them down to the thoughts. What thoughts are you having that generate the fear?

Example I’m confident I can run 5km but feel nervous about running 10km. If I sit with it, thoughts around failure, being too old and unfit present themselves. Now I have something to work with and I can plan to do my best. This may involve buddying up with someone, having a health check, having hypnotherapy, doing some visualisation can all help me prepare and get my Comfort Zone stretching.

2 Watch Your Language!

The words you use can keep you stuck. Your subconscious believes what it hears, it doesn’t care if it true or imagined. Phrases such as ‘I can’t’, ‘I should’, ‘it’s a problem’, ‘it’s not my fault’ – keep you in lower self and powerless, stuck in your Comfort Zone.

Example ‘I can’t drive on motorways as I get too anxious.’ implies that it’s a done deal and your subconscious will put up blockers to make it so. Any time you consider driving on a motorway you will feel anxiety, thus allowing your Comfort Zone to be maintained. A much more powerful statement would be ‘I am getting more and more confident in my driving ability, I am overcoming any challenges and I’m excited to be driving on motorways.’ Even if you don’t believe it yet, your subconscious will take it on board.

3 One Step At A Time.

Do you want to do something new and different? Do you start off full of enthusiasm but when you start to really think about doing it you get overwhelmed and talk yourself out of it, once again shrinking back into your Comfort Zone.

The key is to take baby steps, we want to move into our Stretch Zone, not push ourselves into our PANIC Zone, otherwise you end up playing the Comfort Zone – PANIC Zone – Comfort Zone game.

Do something that is slightly uncomfortable but achievable. You will then feel stronger and more confident to take the next step. Write down what you want to achieve and all the steps required. Put those steps in chronological order and start with the first one, make sure you reward yourself along the way!

Example I often have clients who say ‘I want to change career, but I can’t afford to leave so I’m stuck.’ Take a step back and look at the big picture, create your desired outcome then work back from it. What do you need to do next week, tomorrow, today? E.g. Doing some research, talking to someone, documenting your finances – are much easier steps to take. These will stretch your Comfort Zone, expanding your life, experiences and opportunities.

I hope this has given you some food for thought, there are lots more tools and strategies to help you live the life you desire, if you want to know more how I can help you then please get in touch.

If you want to find out more about Hypnotherapy, Coaching or Training please contact  alison@steps-forward.co.uk or come along to a Workshop, the next one is on May 13th or a 2 hour Self Development Group meeting, the next one is on Monday 22nd May and STRETCHHHH that Comfort Zone!

With gratitude

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