Day 13: Step outside of my comfort zone

I like to say I’m adventurous and sporadic, a woman with an appetite for challenges and uncharted territories. But in all reality, I’m really pretty reserved and stay close to what I like to call my “comfort zone”. I don’t usually venture outside of my group of friends or visit places alone. I operate in my own little world that is full of familiar smells, sights, feelings and behaviors and don’t handle well to massive and unexpected change. As much as I like to think I’m more of a dare-devil, I know I’d probably die of an anxiety attack before trying anything outside of my normal realm of comfort.

So what is this comfort zone theory that most of us flock to as a safety net? In the psychology world, it defines a behavioral state in which a person operates with little to no anxiety, using a very limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance and sanity, with almost no chance of change or risk. A comfort zone is typically defined as a set of mental boundaries, or a fence, that keeps us operating in a safe world that we recognize.

After realizing that I operate in a fairly small, fenced in mental boundary, I knew I needed to go outside of my little world and experience something new with new people, including volunteering. I joined a volunteer group last year and until day 13, had not actually done any solid volunteer work. Why? I was scared to do it alone with people I barely knew. The thought gave me intense anxiety and even gave me intestinal discomfort. My fiance, who is fearless, looked at me and said, point-blank “You are a big girl, you can do this. And you know you will feel better once you do.” That was all I needed, a little push from someone I love outside of my mental prison block.

And he was right. I volunteered all day at a photo shoot with these really great people, and I had a great time. It was a little awkward at first and I felt anxious for the first hour, but those feelings were soon replaced with excitement and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I was able to be apart of such an amazing group of people. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it and gave me a whole new perspective on life. Life is too short to spend stuck in a small, mental blockade. There is a whole world out there to discover!

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~ by therealnutritionist on March 25, 2010.

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