The Science of Your "Comfort Zone"

The Science of Your "Comfort Zone"

Your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. That provides a state of mental security. 

You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.

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Self Improvement

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Taking Risks In A Controlled Fashion

By challenging yourself to things you normally wouldn't do, you can experience some of that uncertainty in a controlled, manageable environment. 

Learning to live outside your comfort zone when you choose to can prep you for life changes that force you out of it.

Without the sense of unease that comes from having deadlines and expectations, we tend to do the minimum required to get by.

We also fall into the "work trap," where we feign "busy" as a way to stay in our comfort zones and avoid doing new things.

Returning To Your Comfort Zone

Going back to your comfort zone from time to time will help you process your experiences.

The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring.

Putting Things Into Perspective

Even in the short term, a positively uncomfortable experience can help us brainstorm, see old problems in a new light, and tackle the challenges we face with new energy.

  • Your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It's a natural state that most people trend towards. 
  • Leaving it means increased risk and anxiety, which can have positive and negative results.
  • Don't demonize your comfort zone as something holding you back. We all need that head-space where we're least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it.

It is our natural tendency to be impressed by new things, only to have the incredible become ordinary after a short time.

It's why we can have access to so much information instantly and still get so bored.

  • Do everyday things differently. Make a change (large or small) in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis.
  • Take your time making decisions. Making educated decisions can push you out of your comfort zone. Think, don't just react.
  • Trust yourself and make snap decisions, just to get things moving. 
  • Do it in small steps. It takes a lot of courage to break out of your comfort zone. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.

A state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. In order to maximize performance, a state of relative anxiety is needed—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it's just outside our comfort zone. 

Too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.

As you challenge yourself, your comfort zone adjusts, so what was difficult and anxiety-inducing becomes easier as you repeat it.

"Productive discomfort" becomes more normal to you, and you're willing to push farther before your performance falls off.

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COMFORT ZONE

Have you ever made a decision that made you uncomfortable? Something for the ‘greater good’ that was out of your comfort zone? If you have, then you would know that pushing past those boundaries of comfort ultimately brings out the best in you.

If you haven’t then I really suggest you do.


What Is the Comfort Zone in Psychology?

“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” - Judith Bardwick in her 1991 work Danger in the Comfort Zone

  • Within the comfort zone, there isn’t much incentive for people to reach new heights of performance.
  • It’s here that people go about routines devoid of risk, causing their progress to plateau.

How to Leave your Comfort Zone and Enter your ‘Growth Zone’

positivepsychology.com

Vulnerability and confirmation bias

Vulnerability challenges your confirmation bias.

It is uncomfortable to ask questions, express your opinion, or open up about your emotions with people. You expose yourself to their criticism and judgment, but you also expose yourself to answers and opposing views. And this is a lot more beneficial than stagnating in the comfort of what you already know.

Why Vulnerability Is So Important

lifehacker.com

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