Quality Magazine

Jim's Gems: Expand Your Comfort Zone

May 19, 2014

I've previously written about the influence of our comfort zones and its effect on our lives. This piece, however, takes a different slant. Have you ever thought about how stress can be effect your comfort zone?

Clearly, too much stress in our lives can create problems. However, is there a kind of stress that is good for us? Stress can have a significant influence on our daily lives, and that’s where we tend to focus our thoughts.

You might ask what stress has to do with comfort zones. A comfort zone is just a term for the physical or psychological area in which we feel comfortable and at ease. We all have them, but it is the extent of the zone that’s important.

We need to keep expanding our comfort zones by moving away from the familiar to the new and different. When we do this, we not only move out of our comfort zone, but expand the zone as well.

However, If the move is not something we choose to do, or if we're not ready for it, we feel anxiety and stress. If you have ever walked into the wrong restroom, like I did on a recent vacation, then you know what I am talking about. Just like me, I bet it didn't take long for you to make a mid-course correction.
 

The higher your self-esteem, the broader your comfort zone, and the easier it will be for you to deal with unfamiliar situations and new challenges. When you expand your comfort zone, you also raise your self-esteem.

It works the other way as well. When you use techniques like positive self-talk and visualization to mentally take yourself out of your comfort zone, instead of succumbing to high levels of anxiety, you'll feel excitement: a "good" kind of anxiety that also gives your self-esteem a boost.

Now, I'm not saying that it's easy to make a change and expand one's comfort zone. It takes some time, but it does become easier. Accept new situations willingly and with excitement, not with dread. It is a continuous process, but also one that brings significant rewards.