Remember that time your friend invited you out to dinner and after much deliberation you decided that you were too busy to go out? Or how about that time you considered joining a Zumba class, but reasoned that the gym was too far or too out of the way? Thinking back to those conclusions, were they really the case? Instead, was it possible that your fear of leaving your home and socializing hindered you… maybe the real reason you reconsidered the dance class was because you weren’t confident in your dancing ability. This practice of ‘rational’ or ‘reasonable’ thinking is a scapegoat used by many people to avoid facing their fears when encountering new challenges or opportunities. While helpful when it counts, sometimes ‘just being reasonable’ is a form of thinking we adopt when struggling with anxiety.
Naturally, after a certain point we all want to step out of our comfort zone. The stress of constantly living in a state of negativity and depravity can end up being harmful, especially when we deny opportunities that deep down we want to say yes to. Fortunately, there’s a few easy ways to muster up some courage – and it doesn’t involve visiting a wizard in a faraway land. Try these three tips the next time you’re on the edge of your comfort zone.
Unmask Your Fears
The funny thing about our fears is that they too like to hide. Yes they are there, you can feel them, but who and what are they really? The next time a decision has you feeling overwhelmed, sit down and start listing every single thought that is associated with it. Let’s go back to the dinner invitation; aside from you weren’t interested in the venue of choice, is there something else stopping you from just one night out? Are you worried you won’t have enough money? Afraid that you might arrive late? Concerned about your wardrobe choice of the evening? Scared of not being able to maintain a conversation? Write down everything that has you second guessing and eventually you’ll see that each item on the list actually has an easy resolve. Once your fears are addressed, you’ve got nothing else holding you back.
Select a New Player
Zilla van den Born made headlines last year after she faked a five week vacation across Southeast Asia. By manipulating images she was able to create a version of her that traveled to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos – and everyone believed her. The next time you’re hesitant about trying something new, consider the version of yourself that lived through the experience. How would the story change then? What people would you meet? What new things would you learn? How would it change your life? Focusing on these positive outcomes can help develop an optimistic and confident mindset that will allow you to go forth and conquer. Still apprehensive about committing to your decision? Then fully adopt this new version or player who is more confident and curious about the opportunities ahead. Sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zone requires a little stepping out of ourselves.
Talk it Out – With Yourself
No. You are not crazy for talking to yourself, don’t let Shakespearian monologues make you think otherwise. We have many facets of our subconscious and sometimes not everyone gets heard in your headspace. The next time you’re thinking about something, talk it out with yourself. You’ll find that somebody actually responds and after a while you start shaping your thoughts and feelings into more tangible and recognizable considerations. I personally find myself having conversations in the shower or during a car ride. Sure it can get a little heated sometimes, but hearing all my thoughts out loud provides more clarity and can help lead to an optimal resolve. After enough of these conversations you’ll find a bolder, better you that has a monstrous zeal for healthy living.