Stepping out of your comfort zone and improving confidence

What stops you from getting the life you want?

Do you feel anxious when you think about doing something out of your comfort zone? Do you get some unpleasant sensations in your body? You may already know this is a perfectly normal reaction, and is just our bodies going into the basic survival - the fight – flight – freeze mode, which is vital when facing a really dangerous situation, but less than helpful at times too.

You may experience: 

  • increased heart rate
  • headaches
  • sweaty palms
  • light headedness
  • nausea
  • lack of concentration
  • blurred vision
  • shortness of breath
  • dryness in your mouth or difficulty swallowing
  • aching neck muscles
  • shaking or jelly legs.

These are all very unpleasant feelings, but remember you are not going to die, and you are not suffering from a serious illness. However if you experience these feelings a lot I would suggest you to get checked out by your GP just to make sure there is nothing else going on, and for peace of mind.

These physiological responses can be accompanied by the negative chatter in your head.

The ones that say: 

  • I can’t do it.
  • I am  not good enough.
  • It’s too scary. 
  • What’s the point, I will only fail.
  • I am stupid, useless.

None of these are helpful and really do hold us back from doing things, and stepping out of our comfort zone. They also affect our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

These messages probably started at an early age, such as from your parents or teachers, or even siblings or your peers. We are all so good at hanging onto the negative messages and discarding the positive ones, just think about whether you are good at accepting compliments, or identifying good qualities you have.

Ways to step out of your comfort zone, and improve confidence

  • Remember they are only stories, just one person’s view and you don’t have to believe them.
  • Check those messages out and find the evidence that supports them, you may find there isn’t any.
  • Make a list of your achievements, doesn’t matter how small they are.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others, its not worth it as we are all unique.
  • When you feel anxious, or hear that negative chatter, use breathing techniques to slow things down.
  • Practice positive visualisation to see yourself doing whatever takes you out of your comfort zone with positive outcomes.
  • Write down three positive things in your life each morning.

If you find it difficult to do these alone, it can help to work with a counsellor as they can offer a different perspective.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bordon, Hampshire, GU35
Written by Wendy Capewell, Specialist in Anxiety, Abuse,Trauma & Relationships
Bordon, Hampshire, GU35

Wendy Capewell is an experienced Integrative Counsellor who works with individuals and couples. She has her own successful private practise in Hampshire. She is also a qualified hypnotherapist, and public speaker, as well as running workshops.

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