“Do the thing you fear the most
and the death of fear is certain.”
-- Mark Twain
All our fears are unique and different, born out of different experiences right from the moment of conception (some even before, if you’re not afraid to go down that route) and often maintained through subconscious programming throughout life. For example, when we say to one another things like, “Be careful,” “Safe journey,” “Good luck,” “Touch wood,” “Have you had enough to eat?, ” we presuppose that something may well go wrong and so perpetuate our subconscious anxieties.
Conquering such origins of fear once and for all, ultimately will allow you to meet with your life’s goals and purpose. Because at the end of the day, the only thing holding any of us back is ourselves and how we process, manifest and deal with fear. Perhaps this sounds like a cliché, but it is nonetheless true!
Breaking Common Comfort Zones
Start reconditioning and transitioning your mind and body for positive change today with the following 30-day warm-up resilience challenges. There’s a challenge for every day over a month.
You can warm up to handling uncertainty by randomly choosing a number between 1 and 30 every day for a month and look at the list below to see what challenge it correlates to. Alternatively, you can work through the list from 1 to 30. Either way will give you new daily challenges.
These are all designed to help with self-challenge and breaking some common comfort zones to create positive change, and the point of each task is to complete it whether you like it or not, whether it seems pointless, silly or stupid . . .
Do you have the flexibility to do it? Can you dare yourself to do something different? Can you lose your inhibitions, utilize humour and handle the uncertainty of the task and the response you’ll get?
It’s important to remember that all irrational fear is in your head. Yours, mine – it’s all subjective, hence why some techniques will work better for you than others.
The 30-Day Resilience-Builder Challenges
- Say “Hello, how are you?” and smile at five random people who you don’t know.
- Play a game with your friends of challenging one another to integrate funny or random phrases into normal conversations. Something like “razzamatazz,” “fandabidozi,” “cowabunga,” “Willy Wonka” . . . Essentially, just have fun thinking of your own random funny phrases and getting them into everyday conversation. It’s good harmless fun and acts as a little dare, starting to push your comfort zone. You’ll undoubtedly make a few other people laugh too.
- Strike up an amiable conversation with a stranger or acquaintance, or say something amusing or unusual, either in person or on email.
- Be assertive and honest – speak out (albeit within reason!) Speak what is on your mind. Things that you might not otherwise have dared to say; perhaps something you don’t really like or agree with! Go a day with no subjugation – push your boundaries.
I’ve had so many experiences where I’ve heard people complaining profusely among themselves or to me about something; yet when they have the chance to tell the person they really need to be telling to make a difference, the cat’s suddenly got their tongue – nothing’s said and nothing changes. So, if you want to change things, this is a great mini-challenge to start with.
- Wear something different from usual. Something more colourful perhaps, smart, glamorous; casual if you’re used to feeling “stiff” in your clothes all day – just something that’s a positive change for you! Perhaps change your hair colour or style, change your make-up, go without make-up, grow a beard or moustache, conversely shave it off . . . You’re no doubt getting the drift by now! In any case, note how different it makes you feel.
A client of mine initially came to me feeling demotivated, worthless and consequently spiralling into clinical depression, and although her full spectrum of challenges was complex, when I asked about how she spent most of her days from the moment she opened her eyes, I soon established that she paid no attention to herself and generally wore a T-shirt and leggings all day, every day. I suggested some changes – getting her hair restyled, changing its colour, getting up a little earlier to pay more attention to herself and dressing smarter – and she began to feel different. In time, she began acting differently and had a greater sense of pride and authority about her. Not surprisingly, this subconsciously also created a change in her behaviour and habits overall, and subsequently the responses she got from other people. It’s the old classic – if you don’t deep-down respect and value yourself enough to care, how can you expect others to?
- Make that phone call you’ve been putting off or call family or a friend you’ve not spoken to for ages. Listen to those voice mails and plan to confront what you’ve otherwise been avoiding.
- Have a complete mobile phone and social media switch-off for 24 hours – it’s very liberating and certainly pushes boundaries!
- Travel alone – In a context that you are unfamiliar with.
- Buy a copy of the Big Issue (the street newspaper sold by homeless people or individuals at risk of homelessness, giving them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income) and have a conversation with the seller about how they came about to be selling it. And if you have the bottle to take it further, have a go at selling a few to give the seller a short break. If you don’t have the Big Issue where you are, do something similar: buy a homeless person a drink or take them to lunch and listen to their story, or think of another act of kindness you can perform – for a stranger in need or perhaps a new colleague.
- Meditate. Positively utilize music for guided meditation and exploring meditation.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself aloud “I love who I am, and I enjoy what I do.” If you find you can’t do this yet and don’t like the answer as to why, say to yourself instead “I have the courage to change my life and I respect myself enough to do it.”
- Use a different mode of transport. Leave your car at home and take public transport, walk or cycle for a change. Or instigate learning to drive if you don’t. If that’s not feasible, just park further away from your destination to make yourself cover a greater distance. Just shake up your routine, even if – especially if! – it makes things a little less comfortable or easy for you.
- Do something different and fun midweek, again to shake things up a little.
- Do something out of character or spontaneous that makes you feel a little uncomfortable – but that isn’t harmful in any way, neither for you nor anyone else. . . For me this might include leaving my handbag at home while I go for a coffee, because my bag contains provisions and everything that I consider necessary – but in reality I can probably manage without. For you this might be leaving your mobile at home for the day, not wearing your watch, going outright commando or not writing out a shopping list and changing where or how you do your food shopping.
- Visit somewhere you haven’t been before. It can be quite an adventure if you pick and travel in a certain direction and then simply follow the brown signs indicating tourist attractions to see where you end up, and what you end up doing. If you’re feeling less adventurous, or that’s not feasible, try going to a restaurant or coffee bar that’s new to you. It’s good to have a go at finding places without relying on your GPS too.
- Let your hair down and loosen up. Things like dancing around the house to loud music. Or go to a comedy evening - or even host your own!
- Randomly surprise someone with something nice. From paying someone a compliment and showing your appreciation of them, to sending someone flowers or taking them to lunch for no apparent reason other than surprising them with a treat.
- Go and play on the rides in an adventure playground – with or without kids! This is exceptionally liberating, fun and challenging at the same time, for many reasons!
- Go completely vegan for the day or have a sugar/gluten/caffeine/alcohol/smoking-free day.
- Create a “life list” (as opposed to calling it a “bucket list”) – Language is important and this is about doing everything you want to do in life because you just want to do it, rather than waiting until you think time is short (remember we get what we focus on!).
- Say “No” to someone or something you usually do that you don’t really like doing but feel obliged or duty-bound to do.
- In a restaurant or café, order something totally different from your usual choice.
- Find a way to surrender your control. This might be letting your children have discretion over something you would usually decide, or handing control over to a colleague at work, letting your partner make all the decisions . . . however and whatever you must do to experience surrendering your usual level of control.
- Explore and start a new hobby or interest. This could be joining a health club; going to an interest group or society; starting a study course or cooking classes; personal development workshops; doing some voluntary work in your community; community policing; charity work; school reading schemes . . .
- Come up with some personal enjoyment time for yourself that you can commit to every week. This can be as simple as giving yourself a couple of hours of personal time doing whatever floats your boat; as long as it’s something that’s special and indulgent for you.
- Ask for a pay rise or, if not relevant, ask for a discount!
- Ask people what they like about you and what advice they would give you to enhance yourself or your life. Then make a list of all the things you like about yourself and the things you’re good at.
- Create something new! This could be anything from an innovative invention to aid you in your daily life to an experimental recipe or writing a song; making your own clothes or children’s toy; from designing a fun game to creating a new business.
- Take a random day off and do something different. Head out to the coast, catch a movie at the cinema, go to an art gallery, book a hotel for the night, search the web for sites with discounted things to do . . . select something different and just go and do it.
- If someone asks how you’re doing or how your day is going, give the response “Fabulous, thank you!” and if they ask you why, say “I’m creating exciting positive change.” Do this irrespective of any challenges you might be having that day – that’s the resilience bit!It’s also worth considering how pushing your boundaries and participating in the 30-day challenges can positively shape your life in other ways . . . Imagine what could come of opening up to meeting new people, experiencing new things or behaving differently. In any case, it will create a different law of attraction for you – perhaps steering you in a direction you’d never previously considered, becoming good friends with someone you’d never have expected or being presented with prospects you’ve never before contemplated . . . who knows? But the more you push forward and get out there, the more you’ll experience and the greater prospects you’ll invite.
The 30-day resilience-builder challenges will help to start reconditioning and transitioning your mind and body for change. You can create your own by “flipping your fear”. Have fun with creating your own list of resilience-builders by taking the things that are a comfort to you and giving yourself tasks that involve doing the opposite.
So, for example:
You can list all the things that personally scare you and write down what the opposite of these would be. Then you can work out the specific task or challenge you need to do to overcome them. The more fun and creative you can make your fear-flipping tasks the better!
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The things that you do may seem trivial; conversely, they may seem like a pretty big deal. It will depend on your specific anxieties, confidence level and fears. Either way, this list will bring its own challenges for you in some way, and will therefore help with building up resilience and confidence and stimulating a positive amount of adrenaline to help motivate and push you further, promoting the attributes needed to fully break your comfort zone.
Copyright 2019 by Emma Mardlin, Ph.D.
Reprinted with the permission of Findhorn Press,
an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl. www.innertraditions.com
Out of Your Comfort Zone: Breaking Boundaries for a Life Beyond Limits
by Emma Mardlin, Ph.D.
Offering a step-by-step guide to incrementally breaking out of your comfort zone and confronting and transforming fear, Emma Mardlin, Ph.D., equips us with effective working tools to conquer our deepest fears in any context, be they small or big, and harness them to push us further toward our ultimate goals, purpose, and full potential.
About the Author
Emma Mardlin, Ph.D., is a clinical therapist and founding partner in The Pinnacle Practice. Internationally renowned for her work as an author, trainer, and practicing clinician in London, Harley Street and Nottingham, she has profoundly changed the lives of many once plagued by intense fears, phobias, life limitations, and anxiety. The author of the highly acclaimed Mind Body Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Visit her website at http://www.dr-em.co.uk/