Why I’m Challenging My Comfort Zone – Seeking Discomfort #01

We all have a comfort zone: some are small and particular whilst others are bigger and encompass a lot of experiences. Some have thick walls constantly under guard whilst others have more lenient borders. As I’ve grown up, my comfort zone has stretched out in many ways – for example, my independence, ability to travel alone and slower heart rate when making phone calls.

Yet, in a lot of other ways, my comfort zone has shrunk as I’ve become more self-aware, and as a result of this, more self-conscious. My comfort zone in terms of putting myself out there, doing sport and self-confidence have all diminished; sometimes it feels like the walls have been built up higher and surrounded by a moat. This is something I’d like to change.

This isn’t a new revelation, or action plan, for me. For quite a few years now I’ve been finding myself in situations where I’m miles away from my comfort zone and have chosen to stay there and push through the discomfort. Especially since leaving school, there have been many opportunities for me to experiment with pushing these boundaries out, from getting new jobs and talking to new people, to starting this blog and solo travelling. And yes, it is normally worth it.

I remember very clearly a moment that took place perhaps five years ago. The day I had just enough courage to go to the post office on my own and mail a parcel at the counter, heart crashing against my ribs and sweat streaming down my spine. That girl could not pick up a phone unless it was her mum or dad on the other end, she had only just started being able to order her own food at restaurants, and that girl felt weak. Yet she so clearly wasn’t. Because that girl was me: a young woman who has done so many unimaginable things since then. It was that terrified girl who one day had the strength to confront her discomfort by taking a deep breath and moving the bricks of her comfort zone a couple of paces outwards.

In my experience, introversion and anxiety naturally lean towards a small, well-protected comfort zone. It has been a constant battle, in a loud, outgoing, connected world, for a person of such a temperament to expand the boundaries of what’s comfortable. But every single time I have been able to look back and realise the space in which I feel relaxed and capable has grown, I feel a swoop of pride flip over my stomach.

Expanding your comfort zone changes so much about how you live your life, from what you do short-term and long-term, to how you think and feel about yourself. I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles and seen plenty of videos about doing things outside your level of comfort, and they all seem to come to the conclusion that doing things you never thought you possibly could, no matter how little, is a wonderful way to grow as a person.

I want to be more confident in myself. I want to feel worthy of other people’s time and space. I want to gather new experiences without being held back by anxiety. These are huge goals, but that doesn’t mean they’re unattainable. After all, I’ve broken through the walls of my comfort zone many times before and I am determined that I will continue to do so.

That sense of achievement I’ve felt before makes me hungry for more; I’m like a farmer who can’t stop buying up new fields because they’ve discovered a new fruit they want to try and need the space to plant it. There are so many things I haven’t yet tried, a lot of them because the boundaries of my comfort zone won’t allow me to. But this is something I’m slowly learning to change, because as cliché as it sounds, I don’t want to live a safe life of regret.

I want to push myself and do things in the future that seem as unfathomable to me now, as the things I do now seemed to the little girl I once was. This is the start of me documenting my experiences doing exactly that – from the small to the big, this post is my pledge to go forward seeking discomfort. Will you join me?

If you enjoyed this post, you might like:

What You Can Learn From Frustration: Thoughts on Anxiety and Self-Hatred

8 Ways To Manage Time Anxiety

You Don’t Have To Eat Oysters: An Open Letter to Myself About Making Decisions

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Instagram (@alystravels)

Pinterest (@alysdc)



32 thoughts on “Why I’m Challenging My Comfort Zone – Seeking Discomfort #01

  1. Roland Leggge says:

    Hi Aly, I loved your post. I can relate to your anxiety. I can relate to the choice you have made to move past your comfort zones into new places of discovery. I was a very nervous boy andy young man. I still deal with anxiety at 56 but it doesn’t stop me like it did before. I have pushed myself like you into new experiences which continue to transform my life. I appreciate your story and look forward to more. I am going to re-post your blog on my blog. It is important for people to read. I wish you a beautiful weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alys says:

      Aw thank you so much Roland! It is admirable that you have managed to push through all of that and still stretch yourself, that’s the sort of role model the world needs! Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lemonsandflats says:

    I will join you! I need to challenge my comfort zone as well. Constantly growing & evolving is a must. I also have anxiety but pushing through when times get rough is something we all need to do to get better (even if it doesn’t feel good). Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ashleyleia says:

    I think my comfort zone has shrunk as I’ve gotten older. Travelling has been the best way to push myself out of my comfort zone, both in terms of forcing me to try new things but also just not worrying too much what people thing because I’ll never see any of those people again.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JustaKidd says:

    This is amazing Alys. I love how open and honest you are on your blog, it truly is inspiring to a lot of people. You keep pushing that comfort zone of yours and we’ll follow in your footsteps ❤️ Love reading about your journeys

    Lon x

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dana says:

    Your post made me think about how I’ve changed as a woman. Anxiety is an issue for me as well and pushing myself a bit each day helps! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. my20staughtme says:

    I love that line ‘I don’t want to live a safe life of regret’ and I think it’s something you can so easily do and then look back and see how much more you wanted to do. I’m an Actor who thinks nothing of performing in front of 100s of people so people assume I’ll be confident and extroverted and yet the thought of talking to strangers, making a phone call, getting petrol, and like you, going to the post office makes me sick with nerves, like I have to mentally prepare. I’m getting better because I refuse to be like this all the time but it’s tough and I don’t think extroverted people even consider that these things might actually be hard for some people. Really enjoyed this!

    Liked by 2 people

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