When we think of making changes most of us imagine doing something so far removed from our comfort zone that we become fearful, overwhelmed and ultimately don’t make any changes at all. The long-term impact on denying expansion of our comfort zone can lead to feeling unfulfilled and generally dissatisfied with our lives.
Start with small steps to gently expand your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone is not a fixed thing; it is fluid and constantly expanding. You have to imagine it like a muscle that needs regular exercise.
When you were a child and you first learnt to walk, you fell over; in fact you fell over multiple times. But rather than consciously decide that this walking lark was just too hard, you decided that you needed to get up and try again. Why is this? Because as a child the need to walk was purely instinctual and when we listen to our instincts we have a much clearer picture of which direction we need to take. You also learnt from the mistakes you made with each fall and ensured you perfected your technique in order to walk better and for longer.
Gradually, if we do things often enough, our comfort zone naturally expands to accommodate the new change and soon walking is just a normal part of our lives.
As we age we learn that making changes can have certain consequences. Sometimes this is for our own protection but sometimes this inability to do something different and make the ‘right’ change can paralyse us. This prevents us from making changes for the better, preferring to stay within our comfort zone in order to feel safe and stress-free.
Obstacles in your way
We also need to consider what are the obstacles that are holding us back from creating changes in our lives.
Is it fear of upsetting a family member?
Not feeling ‘worthy’ of having more of what you want?
Or even fear that change may make things worse than they are now?
In my homeopathy practice many people come to see me because they have a physical problem. Their periods might be irregular, they suffer with terrible PMS every month or they have a fungal infection. As a homeopath I want to explore more of what is behind that physical symptom. When did it start and what makes it better or worse?
What I find is that many clients have a feeling of dissatisfaction with their lives. Perhaps they’re in a job they don’t like or a relationship that doesn’t serve them but are unsure on how to change their situation. Their body has been giving them signs that something is amiss but they haven’t realised that the two are connected.
Gently expanding your comfort zone
Alongside giving homeopathic remedies I always encourage clients to find ways to gently expand their comfort zone. So when a bigger change needs to take place they feel more confident that they can cope.
Start by making a list of things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t found the time, confidence or energy to do them. Pick just one and see how you can go about making it a reality. Whether it’s learning a new language, going on a retreat or even just clearing out a kitchen cupboard, try to do it in small steps.
At first it may feel frightening, so write down what those fears are and explore further what they’re about. Remember thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not reality and they do not define us!
Don’t allow others to influence you. It’s great to get advice from other people but choose wisely whom you communicate with! If you’re always looking for the approval of your mother then maybe don’t discuss your plans with her, as the answer may not be in your best interest!
Once you’ve completed one of your goals, try another one. Don’t do too much at once and remember this is all about building confidence. When I first started as a homeopath I found seeing clients a daunting prospect and worried I wouldn’t get their prescription ‘right’. So I made myself prescribe as often as I could. I got a job at a homeopathic pharmacy where I prescribed on the spot almost all day. Now prescribing quickly for someone’s cold or cough doesn’t feel such a daunting task because I’m used to it. It has become part of my comfort zone.
What sort of things do you do to expand your comfort zone? I’d love to hear your thoughts!