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The Science Behind the "Comfort Zone"

Have we ever wondered why we love to stay in our comfort zone … what the actual science is behind it?

Well, here it is in a nutshell.

Neural pathways, like ruts in the ground after a hard rain, are created in our brain by repetition – stuff we’re used to doing all the time.

So, if we try something new, our brain identifies it as risky and goes into survival mode – for safety and energy-savings.

We are designed to not only stay safe, but to maintain stability – homeostasis. Glucose level, blood pressure, and heart rate remains stable to support life. If our heart rate increases from exertion, it’s only temporary and the body eventually stabilizes.

Our brain is like that.

In the non-anxiety-based comfort zone, like exercising or learning a new game, going out of the comfort zone is easy but we soon lose motivation.

Creating motivation depends on our utilization of dopamine – the feel-good chemical our brain releases.

If we introduce small practices, where negligible willpower is required, we’ll feel good when we accomplish it, getting a hit of dopamine. Once it’s part of our comfort zone, we can add another small practice. Before we know it, a new habit is formed!

In anxiety-based comfort zone, like public speaking for example, anxiety stops us from trying something new. We imagine what it will be like, even if we’ve never experienced it, and this mental picture is what creates resistance. If we try the scary thing often enough, though, it will become easier and easier until it’s comfortable.

To speed up the process, we can enlist dopamine here as well, by doing things like smiling, gratitude, and happy thinking. Another helpful tool is to imagine, in vivid detail, the event going perfectly. If we do this often before the big day, our brain is sort of tricked into feeling like we’ve done it before, creating familiarity, therefore less fear.

So, the quote “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone” isn’t totally accurate when we are really expanding our comfort zone, and not breaking out of it.

A growth mindset will prompt us to expand our comfort zone regularly.

You may have a hidden talent that can only be discovered if you’re willing to get a little uncomfortable. I’d hate to the world miss out on your best life!

Do you want to expand your comfort zone, and experience life more abundantly, as God desires?

Let’s talk!

Thanks for reading!

Remember – those who seek, find! Matthew 7:8

Gen Martinez

Brain & Mind Health Coach

DISC Personality Trainer

Neuroencoding Specialist

If you enjoyed this blog, I’d be grateful if you’d share it. Thank you!

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