Health & Wellness

How do you deal with fear/getting out of your comfort zone?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 31st, 2020 10:41 pm
[OP]
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Feb 4, 2010
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How do you deal with fear/getting out of your comfort zone?

I posted this in health & wellness because I think this is a health and wellness issue.

How do you deal with fear - fear of rejection, failure, humiliation, looking stupid, what others think, not being good/smart enough, getting out of your comfort zone, phobia, risks - whether a starting a new relationship, ending a relationship, starting a new business/venture, travelling off the beaten path, quitting your job, looking for a new job/career, taking an exam, public speaking, running for an elected position, etc.

At any rate, would love to hear stories hear some about how you deal with it or if you want to share a story about a time you went out of your comfort zone.
Last edited by hierophant on Dec 28th, 2020 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
21 replies
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I have a fair experience of getting out of my comfort zone. I saved a bit of money when I was at university, left everything behind when I graduated and bought a one way ticket for a country that is 10,000km away and that I didn't know anything about, hoping to find a job - had no family support at all. After a few years there, I moved to another country where I didn't even speak the language. Then moved to Canada with no job, house, etc...

This is only my two cents, as everyone probably handles these situations differently. To me, if there is enough drive, someone will do it anyway. It might be a bit rough to say but I believe in "if you are hungry, you will eat anyway". This is just my metaphor to say that if something if important enough to someone, he/she will plan for it accordingly (get information, get prepared, plan A/plan B etc..).

I believe having an upset stomach before starting something serious is a good thing, as it means you are conscious there are risks (business not successful, being rejected, failing etc..). However, you can manage the risks and get prepared for what might come. It's more work, but it works ok for me. My wife makes fun of me and my "notebook", always says I am over prepared.

Anyway, failing is ok, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I would be much more ashamed/stressed if I fail without being prepared, than if I fail and I've done all I could to do well.

Again these are just my two cents, I am no Doctor, just sharing my own experience if it could help.
[OP]
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Feb 4, 2010
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mattnew wrote: I have a fair experience of getting out of my comfort zone. I saved a bit of money when I was at university, left everything behind when I graduated and bought a one way ticket for a country that is 10,000km away and that I didn't know anything about, hoping to find a job - had no family support at all. After a few years there, I moved to another country where I didn't even speak the language. Then moved to Canada with no job, house, etc...

This is only my two cents, as everyone probably handles these situations differently. To me, if there is enough drive, someone will do it anyway. It might be a bit rough to say but I believe in "if you are hungry, you will eat anyway". This is just my metaphor to say that if something if important enough to someone, he/she will plan for it accordingly (get information, get prepared, plan A/plan B etc..).

I believe having an upset stomach before starting something serious is a good thing, as it means you are conscious there are risks (business not successful, being rejected, failing etc..). However, you can manage the risks and get prepared for what might come. It's more work, but it works ok for me. My wife makes fun of me and my "notebook", always says I am over prepared.

Anyway, failing is ok, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I would be much more ashamed/stressed if I fail without being prepared, than if I fail and I've done all I could to do well.

Again these are just my two cents, I am no Doctor, just sharing my own experience if it could help.
Thanks for sharing.

Yeah I think there's a bit of that - probably a protection mechanism of some sort (flight or fight) that's genetically programmed in us which still goes off despite centuries of evolution regardless of how prepared you are or how much support you have. I know I would be more disappointed in myself if I gave up because because of fear than going for something despite the fear and "failing" - that's what keeps me motivated.
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I guess u have to learn how to control ur fear. I don't generally fear the stuff u listed, like looking stupid/dumb, failing, public speaking, etc. What was absolutely terrifying was having brake failure due to loss of brake fluid.
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[OP]
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The list of fears/worries is not exhaustive, I was just giving examples - it's whatever you find challenging or uncomfortable and how you deal with it.
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"I accept the challenge. Bring it!".This taps into the fight in "fight or flight."

Take into account that there is a learning curve. Thus, "manage ur expectations."

Be curious: "I have never done this b4. Let's see what it's like."

if there r repetitive thoughts of worry, ask urself if they are valid. Basically, cognitive behavioural therapy.

Use visualization: go through unfamiliar steps in ur mind so that it becomes familiar. If u r doing ur first organ transplant, practise on corpses and watch the youtube videos.
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[OP]
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Feb 4, 2010
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Becks wrote: "I accept the challenge. Bring it!".This taps into the fight in "fight or flight."

Take into account that there is a learning curve. Thus, "manage ur expectations."

Be curious: "I have never done this b4. Let's see what it's like."

if there r repetitive thoughts of worry, ask urself if they are valid. Basically, cognitive behavioural therapy.

Use visualization: go through unfamiliar steps in ur mind so that it becomes familiar. If u r doing ur first organ transplant, practise on corpses and watch the youtube videos.
Love it!
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Mar 10, 2005
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Honestly treat it as a challenge and accept the fact you might not be perfect in the situation. Think of a 100 people and 99 have the same uncomfortable thoughts as you but you chose to tackle the discomfort head on and in the long run you will be better for it. If you're not taking risks and failing you aren't growing.

In the end, just do it, just show up, you WILL be a better person. There's a great book on how to get out of your comfort zone : Dale Carnegie - "How to Win Friends and Influence People".
“...because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you'll have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…” -Marcus Aurelius
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thanks for sharing!

On a related note, anyone has story to tell or suggestion how to get someone out of his or her comfort zone?
mattnew wrote: I have a fair experience of getting out of my comfort zone. I saved a bit of money when I was at university, left everything behind when I graduated and bought a one way ticket for a country that is 10,000km away and that I didn't know anything about, hoping to find a job - had no family support at all. After a few years there, I moved to another country where I didn't even speak the language. Then moved to Canada with no job, house, etc...

This is only my two cents, as everyone probably handles these situations differently. To me, if there is enough drive, someone will do it anyway. It might be a bit rough to say but I believe in "if you are hungry, you will eat anyway". This is just my metaphor to say that if something if important enough to someone, he/she will plan for it accordingly (get information, get prepared, plan A/plan B etc..).

I believe having an upset stomach before starting something serious is a good thing, as it means you are conscious there are risks (business not successful, being rejected, failing etc..). However, you can manage the risks and get prepared for what might come. It's more work, but it works ok for me. My wife makes fun of me and my "notebook", always says I am over prepared.

Anyway, failing is ok, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I would be much more ashamed/stressed if I fail without being prepared, than if I fail and I've done all I could to do well.

Again these are just my two cents, I am no Doctor, just sharing my own experience if it could help.
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[OP]
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Feb 4, 2010
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82 wrote: On a related note, anyone has story to tell or suggestion how to get someone out of his or her comfort zone?
I don't think you can "get" anyone out of their comfort zone - it's a personal journey only they can take the step. All you can do is be supportive - I think the best way to do that is get them to open up and be honest about the root cause of the underlying fear (it's almost never the actually situation) and then just listen- almost always people just want to be heard and seen.

I also think the Buddhist way of life is one of the best approaches to life, part of that is being comfortable being uncomfortable vs. avoiding the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and emotions - this the most challenging part for me, I know it on a cognitive level but in practice it's really difficult. Society (companies, governments, parents, friends, etc.) have been teaching us since we're kids that unpleasantness, suffering, inconvenience, hardship is to be feared and avoided (e.g. can't fail a test, can't lose a sports game) - so much time, effort, and money has gone into avoiding unpleasantness hence the high mental health issues because people are not taught to feel their feelings and let them pass, we're taught failing is not ok, imperfections are not ok, having emotions (especially ones perceived as negative such as sadness and anger) is not ok. People don't know how to BE so we use our preferred vices (drugs, alcohol, food, etc.) to suppress, numb and and avoid in order to fit in- this works well for industries/businesses that profit off this, which is why messaging hasn't changed all that much. I think these combinations of issues why it's so hard for many to get out of their comfort zone...instilling fear is an attempt to control someone.

In the end, I think the anticipation of what could go wrong is the greatest fear, not the actually situation.
Member
Aug 15, 2018
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82 wrote: On a related note, anyone has story to tell or suggestion how to get someone out of his or her comfort zone?
I would:

1. Show the person the benefits (the goals) of taking moderate risks. Goals could be: gaining independence from parents for young adults, starting a business etc..
2. Start with small goals, grow confidence, move to bigger goals.
3. Explain it is OK to fail and go back to a "safehouse". If I am afraid to fail, it is comfortable to know I have a good safety net (could be family etc..).
4. Work on a plan: could be an Excel spreadsheet, writing down what he/she wants to achieve and all steps necessary to do it. The person will probably needs to do some Google research at this point, read and ask advices on forums etc... but I believe that he/she will gain confidence after understanding the topic more in depth and be able to visualise the big picture. Everyone plans differently, but I usually add timelines to each line items, have a few options, have a plan B etc.

Hope that helps.
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hierophant wrote: I don't think you can "get" anyone out of their comfort zone - it's a personal journey only they can take the step. All you can do is be supportive - I think the best way to do that is get them to open up and be honest about the root cause of the underlying fear (it's almost never the actually situation) and then just listen- almost always people just want to be heard and seen.

I also think the Buddhist way of life is one of the best approaches to life, part of that is being comfortable being uncomfortable vs. avoiding the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and emotions - this the most challenging part for me, I know it on a cognitive level but in practice it's really difficult. Society (companies, governments, parents, friends, etc.) have been teaching us since we're kids that unpleasantness, suffering, inconvenience, hardship is to be feared and avoided (e.g. can't fail a test, can't lose a sports game) - so much time, effort, and money has gone into avoiding unpleasantness hence the high mental health issues because people are not taught to feel their feelings and let them pass, we're taught failing is not ok, imperfections are not ok, having emotions (especially ones perceived as negative such as sadness and anger) is not ok. People don't know how to BE so we use our preferred vices (drugs, alcohol, food, etc.) to suppress, numb and and avoid in order to fit in- this works well for industries/businesses that profit off this, which is why messaging hasn't changed all that much. I think these combinations of issues why it's so hard for many to get out of their comfort zone...instilling fear is an attempt to control someone.

In the end, I think the anticipation of what could go wrong is the greatest fear, not the actually situation.
I personally have been a risk taker and always believe if you are starting to get comfortable, you aren’t challenging yourself. I get nervous about some of the things you mention but fear never stopped me from anything, unless it was life threatening. I never really understood how people wouldn’t get out of their comfort zone, because you ‘just do it’. You get over your fears and keep trying. You push aside the emotions and do what you need to do. This made sense to me because how I lived but it’s lousy advice for someone who doesn’t live like this.

Over the last year or so, I have had learn about developing the tools to work through fears, anxiety ,uncomfortable emotions. Not for myself but my child who was diagnosed with severe general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It was serious enough, that I almost had to hospitalize her and pull her out of school pre Covid. It was very difficult because I wasn’t wired this way and my ‘advice’ didn’t work because it only works for people like me that can just push back their fears, As the adult and parent, I had to learn a totally new way of thinking from the eyes of some that didn’t have these same tools.

Here are some of the most helpful things for my child that when she is over come with fear that I have to help her pull the tools. This year and half has been an intense year for her and our family learn the tools of dealing with anxiety
- acknowledge the feeling. They may be uncomfortable but they are valid. Negative feelings are there to tell you something. In some cases, it could be that your life is in danger, however, it most cases this is not the case. The negative feelings are there just to tell you something MAY be in comfortable. Don’t ignore the feelings, just recognize they are there and need further thought. Fear, anger, worry are all normal, it’s just a trigger to come thing else. The initial emotion for some , stops them in their tracks to go any further. Acknowledging and calming those emotions allows for further action.
- if your life is not truly in immediate danger, then it’s time to reflect. There are three question my children and all of us have in our phones and wallets to help work through emotions.
- Are fears true? What factual evidence do I have? If not true, then it really isn’t an issue.
- what else could be gong on, even if it’s true then what else could be going on? Try to come up with multiple different scenarios?
- even if it is true, what is the worst that can realistically happen.

We can use any of the examples that you provided. Some we had direct expense. Walking through these questions takes a lot of practice for people that don’t do this normally, I actually a lot of this type of work professionally, and still needed help guiding my child. I totally recommend even if you feel things are okay, to get some unbiased support. We all started some form of counselling to help my child, and it I had been really eye opening. I could never put it in words what I naturally did, but I am so much more mindful of it. It’s ironic, our kids were taught if they weren’t failing they weren’t trying hard enough, we never expected perfection, and always rewarded risks. but yet that fear and perfectionist tendencies run deep. We don’t want to ignore all risks because that lead to recklessness, but rather take the time to push past the fears and think through what the risks truly are.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5099 posts
4046 upvotes
Macx2mommy wrote: I personally have been a risk taker and always believe if you are starting to get comfortable, you aren’t challenging yourself. I get nervous about some of the things you mention but fear never stopped me from anything, unless it was life threatening. I never really understood how people wouldn’t get out of their comfort zone, because you ‘just do it’. You get over your fears and keep trying. You push aside the emotions and do what you need to do. This made sense to me because how I lived but it’s lousy advice for someone who doesn’t live like this.

Over the last year or so, I have had learn about developing the tools to work through fears, anxiety ,uncomfortable emotions. Not for myself but my child who was diagnosed with severe general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It was serious enough, that I almost had to hospitalize her and pull her out of school pre Covid. It was very difficult because I wasn’t wired this way and my ‘advice’ didn’t work because it only works for people like me that can just push back their fears, As the adult and parent, I had to learn a totally new way of thinking from the eyes of some that didn’t have these same tools.

Here are some of the most helpful things for my child that when she is over come with fear that I have to help her pull the tools. This year and half has been an intense year for her and our family learn the tools of dealing with anxiety
- acknowledge the feeling. They may be uncomfortable but they are valid. Negative feelings are there to tell you something. In some cases, it could be that your life is in danger, however, it most cases this is not the case. The negative feelings are there just to tell you something MAY be in comfortable. Don’t ignore the feelings, just recognize they are there and need further thought. Fear, anger, worry are all normal, it’s just a trigger to come thing else. The initial emotion for some , stops them in their tracks to go any further. Acknowledging and calming those emotions allows for further action.
- if your life is not truly in immediate danger, then it’s time to reflect. There are three question my children and all of us have in our phones and wallets to help work through emotions.
- Are fears true? What factual evidence do I have? If not true, then it really isn’t an issue.
- what else could be gong on, even if it’s true then what else could be going on? Try to come up with multiple different scenarios?
- even if it is true, what is the worst that can realistically happen.

We can use any of the examples that you provided. Some we had direct expense. Walking through these questions takes a lot of practice for people that don’t do this normally, I actually a lot of this type of work professionally, and still needed help guiding my child. I totally recommend even if you feel things are okay, to get some unbiased support. We all started some form of counselling to help my child, and it I had been really eye opening. I could never put it in words what I naturally did, but I am so much more mindful of it. It’s ironic, our kids were taught if they weren’t failing they weren’t trying hard enough, we never expected perfection, and always rewarded risks. but yet that fear and perfectionist tendencies run deep. We don’t want to ignore all risks because that lead to recklessness, but rather take the time to push past the fears and think through what the risks truly are.
You sound like an amazing mom! How's your daughter doing since?

All the stuff you listed is also what I've read/heard as well, I try to practice that much as I can.
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hierophant wrote: You sound like an amazing mom! How's your daughter doing since?

All the stuff you listed is also what I've read/heard as well, I try to practice that much as I can.
Thanks for the compliment, I sometimes questioned if I was such a good mom, why my kid had this. I have learned so much from my child, trying to understand this stuff so much more. My daughter has been doing a lot better. Lots of ups and downs, but more ups than before. It’s a reminder that all of our thoughts need to be challenged in constructive way.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Aug 15, 2018
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Macx2mommy wrote: Thanks for the compliment, I sometimes questioned if I was such a good mom, why my kid had this. I have learned so much from my child, trying to understand this stuff so much more. My daughter has been doing a lot better. Lots of ups and downs, but more ups than before. It’s a reminder that all of our thoughts need to be challenged in constructive way.
Kudos to the great job you're doing.
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QuicKi7 wrote: This hits a nerve for me as I was clinically diagnosed for habitual fearful behaviours years ago; however, I only began managing my greatest fears a few months ago with the help of a psychotherapist, journaling that involves personal affirmations, and a renewed interest in CBT (exposure therapy, anxiety tracking). I just began meditating, but I'm not sure of its effectiveness yet, as I don't feel the substantial effects of deep breathing until after 30-45+ minutes and I can't visualize objects in my head (aphantasia).
That’s great that you are getting help. I can only speak through my child’s experience. She always got really annoyed with deep breathing and visualization even though it’s most recommended. It was to help ground her, but it made it worst. For her she found ‘5 senses’ or ‘ABC categories’ worked better. Even if you aren’t seeing the immediate results, as I tell my daughter this is a journey and it takes practice and work. She doesn’t mind visualization now, still doesn’t find deep breathing worth it.

It’s been the longest 18 months of my life, and at times I wondered if these techniques would ever help. My kid lost hope many times, and I had no choice but to hope and have faith on her behalf. She said to me last week that she knows she will get better becuase she can see it. Keep practicing and trying to find what helps you, but don’t give up. Make sure you have someone that will keep rooting you on. This is my virtual support for you.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Macx2mommy wrote: That’s great that you are getting help. I can only speak through my child’s experience. She always got really annoyed with deep breathing and visualization even though it’s most recommended. It was to help ground her, but it made it worst. For her she found ‘5 senses’ or ‘ABC categories’ worked better. Even if you aren’t seeing the immediate results, as I tell my daughter this is a journey and it takes practice and work. She doesn’t mind visualization now, still doesn’t find deep breathing worth it.

It’s been the longest 18 months of my life, and at times I wondered if these techniques would ever help. My kid lost hope many times, and I had no choice but to hope and have faith on her behalf. She said to me last week that she knows she will get better becuase she can see it. Keep practicing and trying to find what helps you, but don’t give up. Make sure you have someone that will keep rooting you on. This is my virtual support for you.
Thank you for your support and kind words.

I think it's amazing that you're teaching your kid these life skills. They may not experience the benefits of certain techniques now, but it's entirely possible that something will change one day and they'll be able to think back and apply the techniques they learned many years ago much quicker.

I recently learned there are peer support networks for parents and families of children with mental health challenges. I've found peer support networks to be very helpful in learning more about myself, the experiences of others and how they can be applied to my own life, to not feel so alone, and to make the whole experience easier.
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Canada, eh?
A lot of times, you just have to take over your internal dialogue. It may be filled with doubts, fears, and criticisms that aren't really your own voice. Shut out the negativity and reinforce yourself with kind thoughts and kind words. "I am loved. I love myself. I am the ultimate badass. Nothing can go wrong. Everything will go right. I am perfect and perfectly comfortable."

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