Your Comfort Zone Is It Good For You?
What Is The Comfort Zone?
Different sources have slightly different definitions for what a comfort zone is, but a good basic working definition is to say that our comfort zones are sets of circumstances in which we feel calm and competent. Things in our comfort zones can include tasks that we are familiar with, interests that we have in music, films and, literature, and our hobbies.
It’s all too easy to talk about the comfort zone like it’s a bad thing, which is unfortunate. While this article is ultimately about the benefits of going outside your comfort zone, it would be irresponsible not to say that everyone has a comfort zone, and it’s perfectly fine and healthy to spend even the vast majority of your time in your comfort zone, so long as you are able to leave the comfort zone when opportunity calls from outside.
Look at your comfort zone like a house: You spend a lot of time there, you sleep and eat there, but you have to leave your house to get things done. Sometimes you like to take some extra time in your house to relax, but you’d never want to live an entire life inside of it, and when you hear a knock at the door you probably go and answer it.
As we will discuss below, leaving your comfort zone can be exciting, fun, lucrative, and personally rewarding. Many opportunities for professional and personal advancement lie just outside of the comfort zone.
Reaping those rewards or achieving that advancement often involves stepping out of the comfort zone and expanding the comfort zone to accommodate new skills and behaviors, but few people endeavor to live outside of their comfort zones. Your comfort zone is a place of confidence and peace where you can develop skills that you already have, or rest and recharge after a trip out of the comfort zone.
This is especially true when a trip outside of the comfort zone doesn’t go as planned. Nothing can get you back on your feet as fast as getting back to what you know, back to your comfort zone.
How Do We Form Our Comfort Zones?
We begin forming our comfort zones at a fairly young age as we begin to recognize what things we can do and what things we can’t do, or what things other people tell us we can and can’t do. Early in life, these lessons can help us to stay safe, but because of how impressionable we are in our youth, these lessons sometimes stick with us well into adulthood, well after they’re practical.
As a result, things that we are afraid to do, or feel uncomfortable doing, often rub us the wrong way because of experiences that we had in our youth. Sometimes identifying these instances can help us to overcome our fears and inhibitions and step out of our comfort zones as adults. Sometimes these instances simply come to mind, while other times we need to think long and hard to identify them.
Sometimes we need the help of a loved one or even a therapist to identify and confront those memories.
We don’t stop defining the borders of our comfort zones in our youth, however. Embarrassing or traumatic missteps at any stage in life can leave us unwilling to try new things, at least for a while. Whether it’s an accident that physically hurts you, a poor investment or workplace blunder that financially hurts you, or a relationship that doesn’t pan out and emotionally hurts you, your actions today – and their consequences — can be just as formative as when you were younger.
Sometimes people also have a hard time expanding or stepping out of their comfort zones because of an abusive relationship. In an abusive relationship, the abuser often tries to make the target feel insecure and worthless so that the target will feel that they are dependent on the abuser.
After enough time, the target can begin to feel as though they are weak or stupid and incapable of doing certain actions. These situations can raise barriers on the borders of the comfort zone and can even make the comfort zone smaller as the target begins to believe that they cannot do things that they used to be comfortable with.