When you think about your “comfort zone”, what comes to mind? For many, this may be a familiar routine, or a place that feels predictable, safe and secure. Having a familar place or safe zone makes sense. Early in development, we are typically trained to find ways to minimize stress and risk. Biologically we are also wired to seek new and challenging opportunities. In what ways you push yourself outside of such “comfort zone”? Where do you find challenge and tackle adversity? These questions may be harder to answer as stepping outside of our comfort zones can be emotionally distressing. In DBT, we talk about balancing comfort and challenge at the same time. This balance allows us to reach our goals and to learn that high emotion is not a reason to stay in comfort at all times.
Recently, I have taken up rock climbing where this dialectic is consistently present. Climbing is a series of challengings. Every move is methodical, prompting you to think with your body, just as much as your mind. During my time climbing, I have noticed that fear can sometimes get in the way of effectively ascending up the wall to reach my goal. For many of us, fear gets in the way of challenging ourselves. As a result, we begin to develop negative beliefs about ourselves and the challenge itself so we start to second-guessing our ability. These are the moments when staying in our “comfort zone” is a very appealing option. Yet, what I have found through climbing, is that fear should be understood. It should provide insightful feedback to the mind/body but it should not be used as an excuse to runaway or give-up. Exposure to small doses of emotional discomfort, increases our awareness of our emotional experiences and our ability to manage through them. What a great way to increase feelings of accomplishment and competency.
This week, we encourage you to step outside of your “comfort zone” and climb to the height of something difficult. Trust me the view from the top is worth it. We would like to hear from you! What are ways you are stepping outside of your “comfort zone” and into something challenging, new or unpredictable?
WORDS OF WISDOM
MEME OF THE WEEK