Each time we move outside of our comfort zone, we grow stronger. For us to grow, we must stretch ourselves, and during this stretching process it is quite natural for us to feel uncomfortable. We’re uncomfortable because we are stepping in to unknown territory and learning something new. As we grow older, we tend to forget how to try new things.
“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
Perhaps this is because we feel more uncomfortable trying something new, as it is almost expected of an adult to already know how. So, as a student you have ‘The World’ on your side – you’re young and no one will question you if you decide to try out something new.
Each time you try something new, whether you stick at it or not, you place ‘another brick in the wall’ of your inner resilience. You become stronger in all areas of your life and you increase your belief in the fact that you can do anything you choose to put your mind to (obviously within reason).
The stronger you become internally, the less general anxiety you’ll tend to feel, and the quicker you’ll become at processing it. So flexing your muscle of resilience by trying new things is a good habit to develop and hold on to as you go through life.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it”
By nature we are creatures of habit, so unless we actively try new things we will generally roll on through, what is universally known as ‘The Treadmill of Life’.
One of the biggest steps I’ve taken outside of my comfort zone was when I went travelling for a couple months. Some of this was on my own and other parts were in tour groups. Either way, I was away from everything that was familiar and habitual to me. I remember returning home and feeling like nothing could touch me and that I could achieve anything. That was definitely several bricks cemented firmly in my wall of resilience.
Another time I left a note for a girl who served me in a restaurant. If I remember correctly my heart was beating faster than when I went up in a hot air balloon… and I can struggle with heights! But I did it anyway. On that particular occasion, my mind was coming up with all sorts of reasons why it was a stupid idea. The bottom line was – I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I already knew what it was like not to go on a date with her, so asking the question was only ever going to bring me what I already had or something better.
If the bigger steps seem daunting now, then start with smaller things and build up to the bigger ones. Make a list ranging from all the small steps you could take, to the bigger, more adventurous ones.
Some of the smaller steps to get you started could be as simple as: walking or driving a slightly different way to university or college, parking in a different place (if possible), trying something new from a restaurant or café menu or having the waiter/waitress recommend something, going to the cinema without a plan and watching the next film that is on when you arrive there, or a slightly more testing one if you haven’t tried it before – eating with yourself for company in a restaurant or café.
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