Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – by Neale Donald Walsch
I have to admit it. I am one who likes the familiarity of my comfort zone. After all, its called a “comfort zone” for a reason – it’s comfortable there. However, it can also be a deceptive trap that turns “living” into mere “existence.”
Comfort zones are full of routine; you know – the same-old, same-old. Comfort zones develop slowly – almost imperceptibly. Soon, the air in the comfort zone gets stale, the “flow” of life begins to stagnate, and personal growth comes to a gradual halt. In some cases, personal growth can even shift into reverse.
So, if you’re stuck in a comfort zone, ignore that inner voice that vibrates within every fiber of your being saying, “Stop! Danger beyond this point!” Try these eight “steps” to start really living and moving forward again:
1. Step inward. Reconnect with your spiritual side of life in whatever way you find fulfilling. Go back to your place of worship if you’ve been away for a while. Learn how to meditate and practice it every day whether that be before you start your day or at its end. Your spiritual life is there waiting to be developed into a spiritual muscle that will serve you and others in times of need and, of course, in times of thanksgiving.
2. Step forward. Volunteer to help your favorite charity or cause. There are many nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on volunteer support to provide badly needed services. Find that new job you dream of and quit the one you hate. Move from survival to significance.
3. Step more. Get physical and feel stronger. Make it a point to get that 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week – even if it’s in 10-minute increments. Move! Feel your body come alive in its movement. Dance! Feel the grace and exquisite motion that your body is capable of. Stretch like a cat and wake your body up from head to toe.
4. Step outward. “The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.” – anonymous. Be a friend! Do things together and for each other. Go places and share memories. Learn about the variety of personalities and the ones you “click” with and those you don’t. As for the ones you don’t, Abraham Lincoln said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
5. Step outside. That’s right. Open your door and go outside. Smell the fragrances in the air. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature. Fill your lungs with fresh air and use your outside voice. See the colors of nature from brilliant sunrises and sunsets to the deep purples and greens of the forest. Wonder at the nighttime sky. Awaken your senses in the world outside. It awaits just outside your door.
6. Step deeper. Listen to your feelings. Share them with a trusted friend or relative. Life has its ups and downs and having someone to share them with helps us work through the emotions that are involved. Talk to a professional if you’ve been feeling down. Emotions cannot be ignored any more than pain in your chest.
7. Step upward. Stretch that intellectual muscle by learning something new. Take a class at your local college or through community education, usually connected with the school system. Read! Find a mentor who can teach you something new.
8. Step gracefully. Let your innate creativity flow out of your calling. Paint beautiful paintings, write inspirational words, dance the dance of your life. Enjoy the talents of others. Remember healthy family traditions and values and teach them to your children. Venture into the cultures of others different from you. Enjoy their food, learn about their values and traditions. Appreciate the diversity in life and celebrate it in all its glory.
If you try any of these eight steps to break out of your comfort zone, you are awakening the seven dimensions of wellness in your life and becoming refined by age.™ Go on. Get out of that puddle of a comfort zone and into the fast flowing river of life and wellness.
Reprinted with permission from refinedbyage.com
A Guest Post by Kathy Sporre
I have worked in the aging field for over 28 years, serving on initiatives at the national and international level. I want to help people become Refined by Age by encouraging them to age intentionally through developing the Seven Dimensions of Wellness in their lives: spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, social/cultural, environmental, vocational. I also want to help people become aware of age discrimination – a form of discrimination that is entrenched in society.