3 Ways to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Build Resiliency

When one thinks about resilience it is our capacity to encounter difficulties and recover from those difficulties we encounter in a quick manner. Resilience is a skill that can be cultivated with time and patience. However, more than anything the development of resilience requires a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.

Your comfort zone is the place where you feel safe and at ease, but if you feel comfortable you can almost always ensure that you’re experiencing no growth or development. Stepping out of your comfort zone sets the foundation for resilience to be cultivated by stretching you beyond your normal capacity and helping you learn to embrace the uncomfortable. Thus, you’re better able to cope and adapt to difficulties when they are encountered.

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How Abandoning Comfort Leads to Resilience

There are several ways that forsaking our comfort zones helps in our pursuit of resilience. The following outlines a few of those benefits.

1.Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable:

Stepping outside of your comfort zone most obviously helps expose you to the feeling of being uncomfortable. While initially, this might seem unbearable, over time the exposure to uncomfortable situations essentially builds endurance. The more often you’re uncomfortable, the more used to being uncomfortable you become.

Eventually, you realize you aren’t nearly as bothered by a particular situation or circumstance. This equips you to deal with that situation if you encounter it in the future but also trains you to deal with any scenario that might trigger the same feelings of discomfort. You then become more resilient because you aren’t as negatively or emotionally impacted by challenges and can better deal with them (Mook, n.d.).

2. Better Manage Stress:

Stepping outside of your comfort zone also helps with your management of stress. There is a certain level of stress experienced each time you are in a new, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable situation. When you are in these situations you learn skills and strategies that help you to cope and deal with stress.

Armed with that knowledge you are then better equipped to deal with future stress you experience (Buckley, 2019). This leads to resilience because you are less likely to have a purely emotional response that leads to breakdown and inactivity. Instead, you’ll have the skills to adapt and adjust as needed.

3. Conquer Fear

There is also a measure of fear attached to stepping out of your comfort zone- fear of the unknown. When you are uncertain about what to expect or what you may encounter the temptation to remain stationary because of fear is strong.

However, the intentional decision to step outside of your comfort zone forces you to face your fear. In doing so you demonstrate to yourself that challenges are more manageable than you may have thought or that you’re more capable than you may have believed. This leads to resilience by empowering you to see that you are competent and capable. Thus, when faced with future hardships you’re able to view them from an optimistic lens, embrace them, and work to find solutions or navigate through them.

The journey towards resilience is just that, a journey, but it starts with a first step in the right direction- stepping outside of our comfort zone. The initial discomfort of those first steps will yield a big return in the pursuit of resilience.

By learning to embrace discomfort, manage stress, and conquer our fear we will become better equipped to truly rise above those challenges we encounter in our lives, recover from them, and be wiser and better people as a result.

References:

Buckley, F. (2019, 12). Building resilience for those stuck in their comfort zone. Breaking News. https://www.breakingnews.ie/business/building-resilience-for-those-stuck-in-their-comfort-zone-971435.html

Mook, M. (n.d.). Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to build resilience. Pro-Development. https://www.pro-development.co.uk/pushing-yourself-out-of-your-comfort-zone-to-build-resilience/

 

Ways to Foster Resilience through Positive Thinking

Resiliency and Positive Thinking

Resilience can be defined as our ability to navigate and recover from the challenges and hardships we experience in life. It is our capacity to deal with and overcome stressful and difficult experiences versus allowing stressful and difficult experiences to overcome us. There are numerous aspects that contribute to the development of a resilient mindset, with one of the most significant being positive thinking.

Research in the field of positive psychology has found that positive thoughts and emotions can strongly influence our level of happiness and lead to flourishing, both physically and psychologically (Kuo, 2017).acceptance

Essentially, positive thoughts feed positive perspectives which better equip us mentally to overcome challenges. When we think positively, we approach situations with more hope and feel more empowered, thus we tend to embrace challenges more openly and feel more empowered to take action.

3 Simple Ways to Cultivate Resilience Through Positive Thinking

While positive thinking in general certainly contributes to the building of a more resilient mindset, there are specific ways positive thinking can be used to foster resilience. The following list outlines specific methods of positive thinking and how they foster resilience.

1.Reframing

Reframing is a process that involves altering the way we view a current situation/circumstance so that we see it differently. Positive reframing involves looking at situations and circumstances typically deemed negative or challenging and intentionally choosing to seek out the positives of those situations and circumstances. It’s about consciously and intentionally shifting perspectives to adopt a positive one (Kuo, 2017).

The challenge-hindrance stressor framework researched by Cavenaugh and colleagues in 2000 found that individuals who reframed problems and viewed them with curiosity were more likely to solve those problems and move forward, as opposed to being defeated by the issue (Pennock, 2014). This promoted resilience because the more positive perspective (the challenge perspective) that was intentionally fostered led people to see challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. This meant people faced and rose in the face of challenges, becoming more resilient.

2. Gratitude

Research suggests that people who spend a few minutes per day focusing on gratitude begin to develop a brain pattern of automatically scanning for positives versus negatives after approximately three weeks. The practice of gratitude fosters resilience by changing our brains to automatically see challenges through a positive lens which then allows us to embrace hardships and grow from them (Pennock, 2014).

3. Hopefulness/Optimism

Embracing a hopeful and optimistic attitude is another way to utilize positive thinking as a means of fostering resilience according to the American Psychological Association. Optimism and hope are attitudes that allow us to envision possible good or best-case scenarios versus harping on negatives and worst-case scenarios.

Consciously choosing optimism and hope over time shapes our perspective so that we begin to naturally see challenges as something to be welcomed because they can lead to success and opportunities (Editor, n.d.). When there is the belief that good could come from what might be considered bad or a focus on the good that exists within the bad, one is already on par to be more resilient because they’ve put themselves at a mental advantage. From that mental state, one can embrace the challenge and pivot as needed to adapt to it.

The connection between positive thinking and resilience is clear. The more positively we think, the more resilient we become. Our goal then should be to find ways to implement and practice positive thinking in our daily lives. Reframing, practicing gratitude, and embracing hopefulness and optimism are just a few of many ways to implement positive thinking in our lives.

By implementing these practices, over time we can expect that the way we approach challenges and navigate through them will improve for the better. Thus, we bounce back from hardships quicker and easier and achieve better overall outcomes.

References:

Editor. (n.d.). Optimism, resilience & positive thinking. Retrieved from https://www.positivityguides.net/optimism-resilience-positive-thinking/

Kuo, H. (2017, October 19). Four ways to build resilience using positive thinking — En masse. Retrieved from https://www.enmasse.com.au/blog/2017/10/19/four-ways-to-build-resilience-using-positive-thinking

Pennock, S. (2014, December 30). Resilience in positive psychology: Bouncing back & staying strong. Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-in-positive-psychology/