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The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

  • 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.

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The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

https://lifehacker.com/the-science-of-breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-w-656426705

lifehacker.com

10

Key Ideas

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.

Optimal Anxiety

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.

Making Sense Of Your Comfort Zone

  • 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.

Comfort Kills Productivity

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. 

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.

Productive Discomfort

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.

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.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

  • 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.

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.

Hedonic adaptation

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.

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Breaking out of your comfort zone makes you feel vulnerable, but that feeling works in your favor because it improves your performance and boosts your growth. A  constant state of comfort equals steady performance.

Too much anxiety, however, will make you too stressed to be productive. 

Set realistic goals to hedge your anxiety

In most cases, once you do something scary, you realize it’s not as bad as you thought—it was just the anticipation that frightened you more than anything.

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