The Importance Of Stretching Your Comfort Zone

Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!
~T. Harv Eker

When was the last time you really wanted to try something new but you hesitated and stuck with what felt comfortable? (Key word being stuck.)

What if everything you’ve ever wanted to experience is just on the other side of feeling comfy?

We all understand how important it is to stretch our bodies before and after we exercise. It increases blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to the brain for a clearer mind. Stretching allows us to perform more efficiently on every level. We can ultimately achieve more when we devote even a few minutes a day to this simple practice.

So why would we ever skip this much-needed, beneficial step?

I think it’s easy to forget to stretch. I often overlook it because the results aren’t as obvious as running, squatting or lifting weights. But fitness experts say stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and a cheerier outlook on life.

Often times we don’t even realize we are sabotaging our chances at true fulfillment—abundance, joy, love, lasting success. But if we can allow ourselves to take that first step into the unknown, we will find we are more courageous, capable and resilient than we ever imagined. I’ve discovered that when we take risks and rise to the challenge, we stretch, grow, and expand in ways that catapult us into new levels of excitement—we feel lit up from the inside out and our life reflects that back to us with improved relationships, career opportunities, financial success and freedom.

It all starts with our willingness to stretch our comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is that place where we feel safe. It’s predictable and familiar. Some psychologists suggest it’s just a made-up mental boundary we’ve imposed on ourselves to maintain a sense of security. While this can be a good place to feel at home within ourselves, it’s also a place where we can easily get stuck. The practice of regularly stretching our comfort zone and moving into another space of growth and expansion has the potential to truly transform our lives. There is uncertainty, sure, but you’re also giving yourself a healthy challenge, and fresh opportunities to become a more authentic version of yourself. I’ve found, this is where life gets really juicy and magical!

For example, I do not like participating in online dating. I mean I really do not like it! I have even used the word hate, and I know I’m not alone here. Recently I was introduced to a man, and we really hit it off. We shared a great connection, and it reminded me how much I do want to be in a romantic relationship with a great partner. This particular guy was not emotionally ready for a serious relationship, but I realized I was. In that spirit, I knew I had to put myself out there, both physically and energetically, and in this day and age, that meant posting my dating profile online. Eek!

Because I was so serious about meeting a wonderful partner, I was willing to stretch my comfort zone. I felt ready and emotionally available unlike in the past. I had done the inner work necessary to be able to truly give and receive love and not sabotage it. Putting myself out there in a real and vulnerable way felt a bit uncomfortable at first, but I embraced it. I’m thrilled to report I met a fantastic man who I am now in a committed relationship with, and I couldn’t be happier! So I’m here to share with you firsthand that stretching your comfort zone works!

I believe any stretch or change, even positive change, can make us feel uneasy. It requires courage. It forces us to break free from the box inside our minds that says it’s safer and easier to just keep doing what we’re doing.

Stretching our comfort zone means we have no choice but to show up as a different, more-improved and enhanced version of ourselves. But what is the alternative?

Some stretches are very deep, we stay in them a while, strengthening, lengthening, becoming more powerful. Other times, we just need a quick stretch.

I remember the first live shot I did as a TV news reporter and feeling so nervous, even a little shakey, thinking, “What if I mess up? Forget what I’m going to say? People laugh at me for not being amazing?”

If you’re doing something for the first time and feeling anxious, a little unsure of yourself, worried about judgement from yourself and others, this is a good thing! And I’m here to tell you, “You’re going to be great!” Not because you did anything “perfectly” (no such thing), but because you showed up and did it! You will continue to get better and better. In time, this new endeavor will feel almost effortless. Just keep going!

If you feel called to do something, it is because you are meant to do that very thing. Take a moment and reflect on the fact that everything in your life has prepared you for this moment. Think of experiences you have been through that can show you why you are more prepared and perfect for this role than you realize.

Just like stretching wakes up our physical muscles, and can reduce future injury and pain, the same can be said for stretching outside our comfort zone. It is healing and rewarding to stretch. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.


How To Build Strong (Emotional) Muscles, And Feel Peaceful No Matter What

Emotional Muscles

We all know that if we want to be physically fit, we have to workout and train our physical muscles through cardiovascular exercises, strength-training, stretching and so on. We also know this takes great discipline, and we can’t just work out sporadically and expect great results.

While much societal emphasis is placed on the importance of having a strong, fit, healthy body, less attention is paid to developing healthy emotional muscles. Self-control over our feelings needs regular exercise to stay strong as well.

Why This Is Important

Have you ever been having a perfectly fine (even wonderful!) day, only to receive an upsetting phone call or rude email that instantly “ruins” your day? I know I have. I recently received a phone call from my agent alerting me to the fact that a client was refusing to pay me for a job I had already performed, making all kinds of excuses and trying to justify why withholding payment was perfectly normal.

I found myself getting so irate, taking their unprofessionalism personally and feeling personally attacked, saying “How dare they mess with my money!” While I had a valid reason to be upset, nothing is worth getting that worked up over and spiraling into a state of despair.

It is one thing for someone to try to hurt us financially, but yet another to allow a person to steal our joy. I literally gave away my good mood for free, and there is no price tag we can put on our peace and happiness. It is invaluable.

I learned a huge lesson that day. I saw how easily I let another person and unfortunate situation control my mood. I knew I never wanted to feel this way again. Certainly none of us are going to go through the rest of our lives without experiencing hurts and frustrations, and it’s important to embrace the fact that we are 100% responsible for our reactions to upsetting events. In other words, most of us need to bulk up our emotional muscles.

How To Build Courage Muscles:

1. Learn to discipline your emotions.

If you’re a parent, you’re probably all too familiar with giving your children a “time-out.” Sometimes as adults, we need a time-out, too. We can discipline our emotions by refusing to let our feelings rule our lives. Rather than acting on emotional impulses and saying or doing something we will later regret, we can resist the temptation and see our reaction as an opportunity to grow and develop character.

There will always be opportunities to lose our temper and get upset, but when we feel our emotions rising, we can choose not to act on them, and stay calm instead. It’s the same thing as not feeling like going to the gym, but you go anyway because you are disciplined and know how good you will feel after your workout.

2. Take the high road. Forgive.

When someone is rude to us, and we don’t engage, we pass the metaphorical test. When we are willing to apologize even when it’s not our fault, we grow up fast and build strong character that attracts abundance into our lives.

We will always be tempted to over-react in the areas where we are the weakest. These situations shine a light on our own limits to love. It is easy to love people who are loving, but the challenge is to love those who are behaving in unloving ways. They teach us how to love better and stronger. Forgive them. They are growing your character.

3. Don’t get on board.

It’s hard to overlook an insult, keep a positive attitude and be patient when nothing seems to be going our way. We think if those rude people would just stop being rude, everything would be great. But when we allow ourselves to realize that this rude person or upsetting situation is perfect for us because it allows us to change for the better, we take back our power.

It may not feel very pleasant to do 100 burpees at the gym with your personal trainer, but think how strong your body will look and feel if you commit to exercising your physical muscles this way on a regular basis. The same applies to our emotional muscle workouts.

So the next time somebody does you wrong and you want to get upset, send an unloving text or email, scream at the top of your lungs or completely shut down, see it as a beautiful opportunity to heal an old wound and grow immensely. With practice, you will become more and more non-reactive, and feel a greater sense of peace and freedom.

Remember, when you see the anger train coming, you don’t have to get on board!

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