Escape your comfort zone! How to face your fears – and improve your health, wealth and happiness

Escape your comfort zone! How to face your fears – and improve your health, wealth and happiness

The reality of the last few years means that most of us have often felt … fearful and uncomfortable.

But that shouldn’t be seen as all bad.

There really is no way of growing and becoming better without stretching or testing ourselves and what that means is … some fear and discomfort.

Actively pursuing these forms of unpleasant emotions, in a controlled way, can be helpful; as this article by Emine Saner via the Guardian explains …

Is there something great you have always wanted to do, but fear has held you back? Make 2022 the year you go for it

The “comfort zone” is a reliable place of retreat, especially in times of stress – living through a global pandemic, for instance. But psychologists have long ƒextolled the benefits of stepping outsideit, too. The clinical psychologist Roberta Babb advises regularly reviewing how well it is serving you. The comfort zone can, she says, become a prison or a trap, particularly if you are there because of fear and avoidance.

Babb says people can be “mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, occupationally” stimulated by facing their fears or trying something uncomfortable. “Adaptation and stimulation are important parts of our wellbeing, and a huge part of our capacity to be resilient. We can get stagnant, and it is about growing and finding different ways to be, which then allows us to have a different life experience.”

Facing fears can increase confidence and self-esteem, she adds, and achieving a goal is associated with a release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. “Then you start to feel better about yourself – you’re aware of what you can do, more willing to take positive risks. You have more energy. It’s a kind of domino effect.”

In her bestselling 1987 book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers advised people to try something “small or bold” outside their comfort zone each day, building confidence “so that stretching your comfort zone becomes easier and easier”. But it isn’t about becoming generally “fearless”, as if we could override all of human evolution. “People often ask: ‘How can I prevent myself from ever having those kinds of fearful responses?’ My initial reaction is: ‘You wouldn’t want to live life without the ability to experience fear,’” says Ethan Kross, professor of psychology and management, director of the Emotion and Self Control Lab at the University of Michigan, and author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It. Fear, when appropriate, is a safety mechanism, but “it can sometimes become miscalibrated, so that the fear doesn’t match the reality of the circumstance”.

Kross doesn’t see the benefit of taking on fears for the sake of it – you don’t have to jump out of a plane or do a bungee jump unless you think it will drastically improve your life. Instead, he says, it’s about facing the fears, or overcoming the discomfort, that prevents us from doing the things “that are really important for our wellbeing, our relationships and our performance. Those are the instances in which you want to try to regulate the fear.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE