Most have heard the saying that "change happens when we step out of our comfort zone", but what does that really mean? We tend to think that simply means taking risks and hoping that the best-case scenario happens as a result. We can step out of our comfort zone in many different ways (not just risk taking!) and experience beneficial discomfort. It is safe to say that there are currently high levels of discomfort occurring in the U.S. that can be harnessed for growth, learning, and long-lasting change. Some are embracing this as an opportunity to do just that and some are allowing discomfort to divide them.
All of the thoughts and emotions that we as humans experience during the unfamiliar/change process are often acted on, internalized in an unhealthy way, or avoided all together. When we learn how to tolerate and then harness the power from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, incredible skills building happens. When we expose ourselves to things that make us feel afraid, anxious, frustrated, vulnerable, etc. we are more likely to grow and learn an old-fashioned lesson that we can take with us moving forward. So, what happens when you start getting out of that social/physical/emotional/occupational/spiritual (and more!) comfort zone?
Beneficial Skills and Outcomes of Harnessing Discomfort
2. Learning (unfamiliar and opportunity)
3. Problem solving
4. Distress tolerance
7. Stress management
8. Self-esteem (pride and accomplishment)
9. Alternative perspectives
11. Improved memory
12. Literal restructuring of the brain!
My role as a therapist is to act as a partner with my clients on their therapeutic journey. Based on client treatment goals, I educate them about this topic, help establish safety, and teach the skills among the list above. I aim to empower and help clients manifest their own potential, strengths, and already possessed skills in order to not only achieve their goals, but shift their perspective of failure. I had a client recently share with me a statement that her AA sponsor said to her that stuck. She said that "if you are learning then you aren't failing". When we push ourselves outside of our norm it is easy to be drawn back in to the norm and the limiting thoughts and beliefs that reside there. Take the first step, the growth is worth discomfort!
"Confront your discomfort and your fear to see and experience your potential. Reach beyond. Don't limit yourself."
DISCLAIMER: All views and information on this site/post are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. The information on this site/post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any mental illnesses. I, the author, do not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician(s) for specific medical and/or mental health advice and/or treatment.