With whom do you share the most intimate relationship of your life? Let’s see. It is not your parents, nor your BFF… not your child, nor your spouse. You share it with your own person; your sincerest thoughts, deepest beliefs, and wildest dreams. Sure, overprotecting yourself is proof of that exquisite liaison, but there is a far better way. Only this one hurts in the beginning… but offers the sweetest delights in the end.
The Benefits of Stretching Your Comfort Zone
It keeps your mind sharp: When you break free from a mind-numbing routine and stimulate the brain’s activity by reflecting on unprecedented situations, you increase the chances of preventing mental decay.
It improves productivity: When you stop setting goals and following deadlines, you start procrastinating at the workplace and cease to overachieve or acquire new skills. Eventually, you will stop enjoying work.
It boosts creativity: When you seek new experiences and accumulate new information, you find yourself capable of brainstorming and looking at the problems from a different angle. You will inspire innovation.
It prepares you for life changes: By taking risks and challenging yourself in a controllable, adequate, and relatively safe environment, you prepare yourself to better face future obstacles when life forces you to.
It provides greater confidence: By outgrowing your falsely self-measured limits, and by becoming more resilient, your confidence will grow stronger and people around you will grow fonder of your new image.
Transitory Baby Steps Towards New Beginnings
Assess your initial state: Firstly, you need to figure out what is holding you captive in a stagnant state of “What if?” away from your dream life. Is it the job, the circle of friends, unhealthy lifestyle, bad habits…?
Redefine your preferences: Fortunately, stretching comfort zones does not have to be extreme, unwise, or painful. The goal is to try something new, different, and possibly intimidating, but certainly rewarding.
Readjust your character: As long as you go along with the experimenting, you will be fashioning a better you who changes things up a little every day, progresses constantly, and enhances his/her enjoyments in life.
Empower yourself with a healthy dose of feel-good: Since progress can be exhausting, you will not be reprimanded for keeping to yourself a little bit of that good old comfort to snuggle with on a stormy day.
Stay focused: Exercising regularly, eating healthy food, keeping a diary, bringing a friend to the journey, distracting yourself with productivity, etc. are the most reliable aid tools that will help you stay on track.
It’s a Matter of Patience, Discipline, and Self-love
Be prepared: By planning ahead and imagining a solution to every possible problem, you can soften the impact of the unanticipated event, and as a result, secure your well-being and that of those you care for.
A little spirituality won’t hurt: There is a greater reason behind every unwelcomed happenstance. There is a greater power that watches over you. Prayer helps you remember that and act boldly and fearlessly.
Seize your chance: Every new chapter comes with new challenges, but also presents new opportunities. Every hardship is a must for necessary change. Allowing all that to come your way can be very liberating.
Know your true strength: Gods do not burden nature with more than it could bear. Same thing goes for you. It is the trying times and discomforts that trigger in you all the potential you thought you never had.
Celebrate your efforts: It is okay to make mistakes as you grow, but it is not okay to get discouraged and depressed easily. Treating every single change as a big victory allows you to pick up the pieces as you go.
Lost careers, busy but unproductive routines, health failure, divorce, a sudden need for self-reliance, etc. may strike at any given time. And in a frantic first attempt, you will shrivel in a fetus like position and put time in charge of solving the issue. No one blames you, dear reader, for it is a perfectly human response. However, things should feel different now that you have read this article and received new information. My deepest hope now is that you use this knowledge to reexamine your life and make a healthy change.
Pema Chodron once said, “The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” I agree with the Buddhist teacher, and I say, “All good things come to those who do not wait.” Anytime is the perfect time to join a new volunteer group or acquaint with an unfamiliar type of individual, go on a spontaneous trip or change residence, pursue a new hobby or learn a foreign language. In other words, now is the best time to make discomfort your ally and face disagreeable feelings that do not magically disappear. How exciting is it to incubate a livelier future, see it with bright new eyes, and feel greatness!