In my last blog, I wrote about the effects of neuroplasticity and stretching yourself to experience new things. Neuroplasticity means that your brain rewires and you create new neural pathways. Going out of your comfort zone stimulates the creation of new and different neural pathways. In these times, most of us are at home pretty much all the time, so we literally live in our comfort zones. So what can you do to keep stretching yourself and to keep growing?
1. Practice self-observation to reflect on how you feel and what is triggering different emotions.
One of the things that you can do no matter what situation you’re in is self-observation. Take this time to really look at yourself. How are you feeling? What emotions are coming up for you? How are you responding to things and are you happy with how you’re responding? Reflecting gives distance and allows you to take a step back, to take measures, and to improve over time. But don’t expect to get clear answers straight away. Reflection takes practice, just like lifting weights in the gym.
2. Prioritize nurturing relationships and social connections
Another thing that is important at this time is to stay connected. Take this time to not only stay in touch with the people around you but try to practice emotional openness and vulnerability. Be true to yourself, be who you are, instead of who you think you should be. Share your feelings and emotions openly, even on Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp.
3. Keep stretching yourself in order to grow and release dopamine and feel fulfilled
To find out what your comfort zone is and how you can stretch yourself, you can do this exercise:
- Create 3 circles inside of each other. In the middle, you describe your comfort zone, things you know how to do, and have done multiple times.
- Then, in the middle circle you describe things that of things that you don’t do yet but you feel ok to try.
- On the most outer circle you add things you dont feel comfortable yet, but you feel excited about or drawn towards. This is where the biggest growth lies
To keep stretching yourself, see if you can do something that is just outside of your comfort zone every day. And try to do something that is a little bit further out of your comfort zone once a week. This will increase your comfort zone over time. But don’t stop there! Stretch yourself like this continuously and you will keep growing your comfort zone and take yourself to that next level.
Would you like some accountability for taking steps outside of your comfort zone? Or could you use some guidance in what steps you can take? Book in a free 45 minute coaching call with me so I can guide you along the way.