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“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear of the unknown. Contempt prior to investigation. Irrational justifications. These are just some of the things that keep us nestled snugly in our comfort zones. But the result is that we end up settling for less in our lives: we accept the mediocrity of our jobs; we justify the extra weight we’ve put on; we sacrifice our happiness to ensure the happiness of others; we believe we’re not worthy of joy, love, or success; we lose our voices, our passions, and our purposes…

Wow. Who’d have thought such destructive patterns could be born from something called a “comfort zone?”

Unfortunately, expanding our comfort zones is easier said than done. It requires a leap of faith and a lot of practice to step into a whole new way of thinking and living. But the space outside our comfort zone is where the magic happens. It is where the merely possible transforms into reality.

But stepping into that space is scary. Or…is it really just exciting?

In my book, Be the Magic of You: Tools to Transform Your Life. I compare the physiological manifestations of fear and anxiety with those associated with excitement:

Fear & Anxiety

Racing thoughts Increased heart rate Increased body energy Increased adrenaline Muscles feel weak Difficult to concentrate Not able to eat Increased breathing rate

Excitement

Racing thoughts Increased heart rate Increased body energy Increased adrenaline Muscles feel weak Difficult to concentrate Not able to eat Increased breathing rate

The psychological manifestations are the same! What if, when we feel afraid, we shift our perspective and recognize that we’re actually just excited? How could this intellectual shift impact the way we live our day-to-day lives and, ultimately, our ability to initiate meaningful—and magical!—change?

When we step outside our comfort zone and do something t new or uncomfortable—even small, seemingly inconsequential things—we change the neuropathways in the brain, improving neuroplasticity and enabling the brain to better adapt to learned information.

Keeping this in mind, here are three simple assignments to help you not just step outside your comfort zone, but trust that everything will be okay in taking that step.

Three Simple Assignments to Expand Your Comfort Zone

  1. Take a new way home. Jot down what you noticed about your new route and how it made you feel.
  2. Schedule or sign-up for a small adventure or activity you’ve always wanted to try. Rock climbing at a local gym? Hiking to the summit of a 14-er? Zip-lining? Running a 5K? Take some inspired action and then journal about what you learned by doing it?
  3. Change your look. Get a haircut—and not the same haircut you’ve had for the last decade. Try a new style, something you’ve always thought was gorgeous but felt you couldn’t pull off. Spruce up your wardrobe with new pieces—maybe add some brighter colors, or trendy accessories. You don’t have to spend a fortune—hit up your local thrift shop!

Ready to Break Free of Your Comfort Zone?

top 10 ways to increase your comfort zone

Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Comfort Zone

Download our free guide, 10 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone, for more ideas about how to break free from mediocrity and start living an exciting, adventurous and—most importantly—fulfilling life.

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Be the Magic of You: Tools to Transform Your Life

Teri Karjala, the founder and CEO of Creative Counseling Center, has published a book filled with everything you need to know to transform your life into the magnificent one you were destined for. Filled with actionable steps, this book is your guide to living an extraordinary life, taking responsibility for your own happiness, eliminating the stories that no longer serve you, discovering the gifts you were innately born with, and truly believing in the abundant possibilities surrounding you.

buy the self-help book