Comfort zones aren’t always a bad thing. Society praises those who take risks and are bold but we all need to pace ourselves. Growth is a marathon not a sprint. Being mindful about moderation can help so you don’t get stuck.
So, what is a comfort zone and what is the purpose of comfort zones? How do you know when it’s time to explore outside of them when risk seems to linger everywhere? Our coaches have come together to share their thoughts.
I imagine comfort zones as where your growing and changing gets ‘solidified’. When we are comfortable and supported, all that wonderful wisdom and knowledge we gathered while out there living can be made sense of and explored. Without physical and psychological safety our brains can’t store memories or connect patterns and themes. Comfort zones are pivotal to our growth.
Growth also requires experimentation and exploration - but when is the right time to tip the scales back?? When do we leave comfort and start exploring? An answer you'll see a lot from me is slow down and work at mindfulness!
Being mindful can be a very difficult thing to do when we are comfortable and what brings us more comfort than a solid routine!? One way to make sure you stay mindful and use being comfortable to your advantage is to increase your awareness around your routine. Maybe my once luxurious night-time routine is getting a little rushed or skipped entirely. This is a cue to myself that I need to slow down and look at what my routines and rituals look like. Are they working for me? Do I feel restored and am I taking the time to be focused on taking care of myself? Pay attention to your emotions. If we adequately give ourselves time to feel safe and looked after then we can give ourselves more energy when the time to take risks is here!
All behavior makes sense. I talk with my clients about this constantly. Even our most stubborn behaviors or patterns that we truly would love to shake off, they all fulfill a need for us. Sometimes it is time well spent to explore our comfort zones and quit assuming we need to quickly blossom out of them to achieve success. Life is never linear!
When you think of comfort, what visuals come to mind? Perhaps a soft blanket, a hug from a loved one, maybe your favorite meal. It could be a calm beach landscape or putting on your favorite set of pajamas. I would love for you to spend some time here visualizing what it truly means to you to feel comfortable, safe, secure, and protected. Looking deeper at the visuals of comfort can help you develop your own sense of reassurance that true comfort exists, even if it is entirely self-made. In order to venture out into the world, we must first trust that we have a solid foundation to fall back on should things go wrong or we feel homesick. Trusting that you can develop that sense of home within yourself and putting control into your hands in building that self-awareness and reliance is a big way to reach the motivation and tolerance for the new and unexpected.
My point here is that comfort zones teach us a lot about ourselves and what we need in order to thrive and take risks. Think about a visual representation of the word, ‘zone.’ For me, I picture a vibrant wall of protective and soothing energy around me that I am able to access and feed into at any point. This visual in itself assists me in feeling secure in the fact that wherever I am, I alone can provide myself a level of comfort or a motivating push to keep going. Let your comfort zone be a calming, necessary thing versus a thing you feel you need to kick to the curb in order to reach your goals.
Comfort zones serve many purposes creating a degree of security and control. Being in a space where you feel safe and confident in what takes place can feel really good and really easy. I think it is important to sit in your comfort zone when you are feeling drained. Pay attention to your own personal battery. Gauge it on a scale of 1 to 10. So if you have had a lot of meetings and maybe lots of social engagements whether with people with whom you are comfortable, or not, your battery might be at a 2. This is where you would make 'comfort zone time' a priority to work back towards a 10. Whether it is watching a movie alone in your bed or getting a massage or shopping at your favorite store, make time in your comfort zone a priority knowing that you are fully secure and in control in that time and space.