The Perks of Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone

July 20, 2017
EAP HR Partnership

Have you ever been in a “mental rut” and figured that all you needed was a break and possibly some rest?  I recently read an interesting article, How Trying Something Outside Your Comfort Zone Can Pull You Out of a Mental Rut, that turned that theory upside down.  Yes, sometimes we do just need a break, but other times, perhaps we need to just “shake things up a bit.”

The author, Benjamin Fishel, explains how he was tired and felt in a messy cycle of negative thoughts.  While everybody around him was telling him to just “rest more,” he intuitively felt that was not the answer.  Though he was stressed and overworked, he decided that what he actually needed was not time off but a confidence boost.  So he tried stand-up comedy, which is probably one of the most stressful things a person can put themselves through!  But putting himself way out of his comfort zone had benefits.  And while it didn’t solve his problems overnight, he does say that it set off a chain reaction which left him with a renewed sense of positive attitude and energy; in fact, more than he had had in months.  Here’s some advice that he gives to push one’s self out of their comfort zone and out of a mental rut:

1)      Once you place yourself out of your comfort zone, it actually gives you a reference point for future challenges.  So the next time you think “How on earth could I ever do that?” you can have a bright memory to go back to remind yourself that yes, in fact, you can do it (whatever “it” is).

2)      You get the joy of feeling alive.  A mental rut can definitely make you feel depressed, and the longer this goes on, the easier it is to forget what vitality feels like.  By having a huge rush of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, you’re giving yourself a reminder just how fun life can be.

3)      Do you want to re-define your self-image?  This is a great time to do it.  Being in a mental rut can drain us of our self-confidence.  Pushing yourself to do something difficult can boost your self-image and you can use these experiences to pull yourself out of tough times when you need to.

4)      Warning:  You may just inspire others!  Benjamin goes on to say that putting yourself out of your comfort zone may help people to perceive you differently, and by inspiring others, you yourself can become re-inspired as well.

5)      It’s a great reminder that emotions will come and go.  Though we’re human and entitled to feel however we do, this is also a reminder that emotions are experiences and don’t necessarily define us. This can bring us comfort when we’re feeling down.

The end result?  If you’re going through a mental rut, depression, or anxiety, it may be time to push yourself a little bit to do something hard that you never thought you’d be able to do.  Resting and taking breaks are important, but Benjamin reminds us that sometimes what we really need is that extra push to remind us how joyous it can be to raise our self-confidence, and just how lovely it feels to be alive.

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