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Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Stay in your comfort zone and nothing will ever happen! There will be no changes at all in your life, no self-improvement, no gaining new skills and experiences. You have reduced stress to a minimum and routine is king. Just go back to sleep and enjoy the warmth and security.

Now, when you wake up again, think about this. If you were to move out of your comfort zone, how would you feel? Well, a bit scared, hungry, tired and downright uncomfortable. And what would you gain from all that? You could be happier, more successful and much more confident for a start. Then you would be able to get your fears into perspective, boredom would deflate like a burst balloon, and excitement would become your new power drug.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”- Brian Tracy

Now, let’s get started. Here are 10 small steps to help you get out of that stuffy comfort zone.

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1. Convert your anxiety into action

Too much anxiety can paralyze you. Too little can make you lethargic. Psychologists have identified the sweet spot which is somewhere in between. Practice identifying your fears and take action. The Nike slogan “Just do it” is a really great one.

2. Change your diet

Nothing drastic to start with. Maybe you need more energy and maybe you need to slim down. Get an app like My Fitness Pal which will tell you where you are going wrong. You can find a full list of apps here. Then eliminate the bad food gradually and start trying a new one every day or every week.

3. Try volunteering

Move out of your comfort zone and help others. Yes, it will be a bit strange and uncomfortable but the rewards are great. Watch the TED talk here by Mark Bezos who works in his spare time as a volunteer firefighter.

“If you have something to give, give it now.” – Mark Bezos

4. Break out of your routine

Look at how you do things and how you waste time. Is there a better way? Is the time you get up and what you do before breakfast set in stone by some merciless and fearful god? No! Start reading before you leave the house. That may mean getting up earlier but you will be amazed at the benefits.

5. Count the pennies

If you are on a tight budget, it may be time to keep a watchful eye on everything you spend. Leave your credit card at home and decide to pay for everything with cash. Try this for a few months and you will soon realize what you really need and what you can do without. You will be surprised at the savings you can make. These can go towards your next holiday.

6. Try not to be so shy

If you are like me, you will keep new social encounters to a minimum. It is the usual fear of venturing into new social territory. The next time, stay a little longer and you will discover that as you practice this regularly, the discomfort and unease will gradually disappear.

7. Set a new goal

If you want to get fit again, the enormity of the task will convince you it is just not worth it. Wrong again! Putting things off means they never get started, let alone completed. The secret is to write down some baby steps which will get you to that goal. Step one might be walking to the supermarket instead of taking the car. When you achieve that, move on to the next step. Celebrate each minor victory.

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8. Find a partner

No, not the usual soulmate till death us do part! This one is a bit more banal and you do not have to spend the rest of your life with them so it is a much more attractive proposition. Find a buddy to accompany you on those walks or visits to the gym. Find a friend to take along to a party when the socializing gets you down. If you do this, you have someone to share your goals with and also you have to be accountable. You will have to justify or explain why you did not achieve your goals. Your friend’s advice and support will help you to try again.

9. Do something scary

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear is locking you up and preventing you from discovering new opportunities and friendships. Make a list of your fears and then try to do at least one a week so that you are experiencing a little discomfort and anxiety. This can be anything from forcing yourself to speak up at a meeting (I hated that!) or offering to help someone with their errands. You will be glad you did and one of the rewards is greater confidence in yourself.

10. Time to get real

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”- Tim Ferris

Did you know that the more tough conversations you have, the more successful you are likely to be? I mean having frank conversations with a partner, friend or boss. This is the toughest one of all because we often build a wall of convenience around all our relationships. Deep down, there may be something that is making us unhappy or holding us back. Time to get real and talk this through with the person involved. This requires courage and when you do this, you are really moving out of your comfort zone.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”- John Augustus Shedd

Featured photo credit: Bungee Jump, Interlaken- Switzerland/Alan Light via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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