Five Adventures Out of Your Comfort Zone
Comfort is a tricky feeling. You probably don’t agree with me. When you think of comfort, maybe you see a big fluffy bed or a squashy sofa and your favourite movie or a bowl of warm mashed potatoes. These are wonderful things to experience you might argue. Yes… Maybe. Did you notice that they all have something in common? They are all very good at putting you to sleep. Big fluffy beds? It’s easy to see where sleep comes in with this one. A movie you know by heart? Also perfect for making your eyelids heavy. Nothing in the story will scare or startle you. The familiar lines are like a lullaby. Throw in a squashy sofa and you’ll be asleep before the opening credits. Mashed potatoes? Let’s just say no one went into a food comma from eating lots of watermelon.
Well, is there a problem with sleep too now? No, as long as it’s not your default mode. Imagine vacationing to a tropical island but never leaving your hotel room because you were asleep the whole time. There’s something wrong with that picture. But that’s what so many people do. Instead of going on adventures and getting a taste for something new, they stick to what they know, what is safe, what is comfortable. They sleep walk through their lives.
Comfort can be nice for the occasional break, but if you choose it because you’re too scared to leave your hotel room, it’s actually an obstacle. It soothes you with pretty dreams and makes it easy to pretend you don’t have real-world-out-there dreams too.
Being aware of the sneaky way in which comfort can keep you from living a full life is already a big step. Now, it’s about seeking out the unknown, pushing past fear. This forces you to face beliefs that have been keeping you from your goals and change them. Keep in mind that moving out of your comfort zone feels uncomfortable. Duh! But if you keep at it, soon you’ll start to appreciate the thrill it gives you and nothing else will be able to replace it. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Sit somewhere new. Ever notice how even though there are so many people at school, things tend to stay pretty organised? People pick their spots in the classroom and the cafeteria at the start of the school year and then they stick to it. Mix things up! Even a small change like this can spread to other areas of your life.
2. Approach someone you don’t usually talk to. There’s a girl in your class you barely know. Next time you see her, ask how her day is going. You never know where a simple question like that could take you.
3. Say yes. When someone asks you to do something or suggests an activity, is your first reaction to say no? You have classes, homework, chores, plenty of excuses to be too busy to lead your life differently. Saying yes cracks open spaces in your day for newness.
4. Try an after-school activity that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you like sports but don’t think of yourself as the musical type. Take a piano class. Maybe your favourite thing is to go off on your own and read a book. See if you can join a game of volleyball. It might be scary but you’ll be happy you did it. And if nothing else, you’ll know that you can survive it.
5. Talk about something that scares you. This gets you to practice opening up which will help you let in new experiences and possibilities. Putting words on a nameless fear can also cut it down to size. Facing it shows you it’s not as big or as bad as you had thought.