#self help

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 Actually “Let It Go” And Feel Empowered And At Peace

When confiding in a trusted friend or family member about something that is bothering me, I am often told to just “let it go.”

“Yes, great, I would love that,” I think to myself, “but how exactly do I do that?”

We usually know when we need to “let it go” but what if we aren’t quite ready or we are really stinking mad, and need to sit with those feelings for a minute? Sometimes someone suggesting we just “let it go” seems a little harsh and angers us even more.

Being human means people will annoy and upset us, circumstances and situations will disappoint us, and we will be left feeling powerless at times. The good news is we don’t have to stay stuck. We can lean back into a more joyful, empowered state. We can feel peaceful. We can trust we are on the right path, and everything is happening for us and the greatest good for all.

Here are some spiritual practices I regularly use to bring me back to center and feel more joyful:

1. Reframe what it means to “let it go.”

Instead of saying “let it go,” I say “please take this from me.” This means surrendering our stress, frustration, disappointment, or whatever is troubling us to the God of our own understanding. This may look something like, “Wow, I am really judging this person, please take this from me.” Or “I am freaking out about I am going to get this job/relationship/money, please take this from me.”

Acknowledging the presence of a higher power reminds us that we are never alone and always being guided and protected. When we are fearful, we have forgotten this and are relying on our strength alone. Let the Universe assist you. It’s a simple way to take back your power.

Working as a freelancer, I live a lot of my life in limbo. I’m constantly in between jobs and up for big projects. I used to be in a constant state of fear, desperately trying to control outcomes. Stress and anxiety led the way. This is what I call a low vibration. It didn’t feel good at all because I was giving all my power away.

When I find myself getting caught up in why I didn’t get the job, why so and so didn’t call me back or support me, how am I going to pay off my credit card, lose the weight, find a worthy life partner or even a parking spot in New York City, I stop, take a step back, and ask God/Spirit/Universe to lead the way and work out all the details.

“Let it go” has new meaning to me. It isn’t about trying to pretend something doesn’t bother us. It isn’t about trying to control someone with our behavior. It isn’t fear or not caring. It is doing nothing and everything all at once: surrendering.

2. Acknowledge your resistance and attachments.

I recently received some feedback from a potential client that initially felt disappointing. My immediate knee-jerk reaction was, “I don’t want to do it that way. I shouldn’t have to jump through these hoops.” When I stepped back from the experience, and realized how resistant I was being to this expert’s feedback, I felt a big shift. I was then able to interpret the feedback as a valuable gift; information that could be used to my advantage to make me a more attractive candidate, not just to this client, but all clients. It is also motivated me to take inspired action and create my first online course to help others design more fulfilling and purpose-driven lives.

I also recognized how I was being resistant to applying the spiritual principle listed above, and trusting solely on myself instead of allowing a higher power to guide me and trust this “rejection” was actually a good thing, leading me to an even better opportunity.

Often times we are so attached to wanting to work with a particular client or be in a relationship with a certain person that we cause ourselves unnecessary pain. As Buddha said, “All suffering comes from attachment.”

A big step in “letting it go” is becoming detached, rather than grasping onto a person, job or situation that we think will make us happy. When we become aware we are behaving this way, we can adjust our thoughts and release expectations. We are all going to fall off the path, that’s a given, but what matters is how quickly we come back to center. Let yourself off the hook.

3. Choose stillness.

Our willingness to see things differently is everything. When we are willing to choose love instead of fear, peace instead of chaos, and stillness and non-reactivity instead of anger and attack, we will create the space to become more deeply fulfilled people.

When we are triggered, it can be very painful, but it is also a beautiful opportunity to expand and grow into a more enlightened person. We do this by disciplining our minds, and choosing stillness, peace, love, forgiveness, compassion even when we feel tempted to judge, blame, criticize, attack or feel unworthy.

Sometimes that means admitting to ourselves that we are not enlightened enough to not feel angry or insulted, but we are enlightened enough to know not to send that text or email or make a phone call when we are in that place.

4. Create a new story/mantra for yourself.

Sit quietly in prayer or meditation, and affirm to yourself that the entire universe is set up for your good. Be aware in an awe of the blessings and miracles all around you, knowing that the person, situation or experience you desire is on its way to you. It could even be standing right next to you, and you just need to open yourself up to that possibility.

My mantra is: Everything that could possibly contribute to my happiness is already here or on its way.

 

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