Let’s be honest: Many of us prefer to stay in our comfort zones. There’s a sense of security in going about our usual routines and habits. And the idea of stepping away from that can be downright terrifying.
But once in a while, it’s a good idea to break the mold and try something new. This is when personal growth occurs and professional opportunities start to roll in at a greater rate.
“The comfort zone is important in terms of having a feeling of security and having a feeling of safety and not feeling stressed, but on the other hand, it’s a place where you don’t take risks and it’s a place that one is unlikely to grow or transcend usual limits,” said Dr. Judy Tsafrir, a Boston-based holistic psychiatrist.
Here are five creative ways to make your brave side (yeah, you have one, too!) shine through this year.
Step On Stage For Improv
For those who get the jitters whenever the thought of speaking in front of a crowd (big or small) comes to mind, an improv class might just be the best way for you to break out of your shell. It’s a great place to let your creativity shine, especially with “Yes, and,” a basic tenet in improv forcing you to accept and build on any scenario presented to you in class. Sure, your heart may start racing and your legs may feel like Jell-O, but once you’re done, you’ll feel a powerful sense of relief. Chances are, you won’t be too scared to perform on that stage the second time.
“The more you [step out of your comfort zone], the more you are prepared to do it the next time something happens to you,” said Dr. Abigail Brenner, a psychiatrist based in San Francisco.
Make the First Move
First moves aren’t always a shy person’s area of expertise. Sitting back and waiting may be the right approach for certain scenarios, but there are times when it’s important to take a deep breath and just strike up a conversation with a total stranger. Once the hardest part is over, you may have scored a great new connection.
Take a Flight Lesson
Go big or go home. Learning to fly a plane isn’t only an impressive accomplishment, it’s also a great way to get in charge of something you probably never considered before. Take a private flying lesson right here on the Island at Long Island Flying.
Go Somewhere Alone
Whether it’s going to a concert or taking a trip, we call our best friends or significant others to tag along. But going somewhere solo forces us to experience a place in a whole new way.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Attempting something new exercises skills you probably never knew you had. Pick up a paintbrush, try kickboxing at a local gym or go hiking for the first time—basically get out there and do an activity you’ve never done before!
“It’s about challenging yourself to break out of your own routine and what seems to be comfortable and familiar,” said Dr. Brenner, who is also an author of five books focused on change and transition. “Try something new, something where you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.”