Doing something outside of your comfort zone can be a scary concept—even anxiety producing for some. For example, about 75 percent of the population has a fear of public speaking, so giving a speech in front of a large group may lead to symptoms like a racing heart, light-headedness or even disassociation for many.
Even so, studies have found that breaking away from a normal routine and trying something new or even a little bit uncomfortable can have enormous benefits. In fact, one Yale study found that if you’re not outside of your comfort zone, you’re not learning. Entrepreneur Auren Hoffman recommends that individuals who want to maximize learning do hard things 70 percent of the time.
Getting out of your comfort zone can also have benefits for mental health. For example, experts have found that when a person is gradually exposed to something they fear and given support throughout their experience, they can eventually lessen the symptoms of anxiety around that fear. By facing a fear, an individual can often develop more self-esteem, which in turn can help them confront future challenges with more confidence.
Finally, getting out of your comfort zone has been shown to boost creativity and productivity. This is especially useful in the workplace and in situations where many people feel stuck in a rut or routine, moving steadily toward burnout. Workplaces that give employees the opportunity for flexibility and testing their edges are notoriously more innovative and more highly rated.
The fear of failure is a common experience, but that fear can hold people back from reaching their full potential. Luckily, there are many strategies for getting out of your comfort zone to encourage creativity, growth, and a healthier mental state. These include:
- Learning a new skill
- Facing a fear
- Sharing your emotions vulnerably
- Trying new foods
- Talking to someone with whom you disagree
What is your favorite way to break out of your comfort zone?
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