Stepping outside of my comfort zone is extremely hard for me, and I know a lot of that is due to my anxiety. Although my anxiety is a lot better, I’m still prone to anxious thoughts. It’s like my brain is hardwired to think this way. But, there are many things you can do to help yourself feel more comfortable as you take those small steps outside of your comfort zone.
If you don’t have anxiety, I will explain how an anxious brain thinks. It’s more than just feeling nervous about something. We all get a case of the jitters now and then. No, it’s more like your brain thinks of everything that could go wrong, rather than what could go right. You get racing thoughts. You start thinking you “can’t” go somewhere or do something because your fear is too great. You doubt yourself. You think you’re going to die. You feel sick just thinking about this huge obstacle in front of you. You start feeling like it’s easier to say “no” than “yes”.
So, what brought on all these feelings with me today? I’m photographing my first wedding, and I’m super nervous and anxious. It’s a double whammy! Although a part of me is excited because I will be spending hours doing one of my favorite things (photography), the other part of me, the anxious part, is telling me everything that could go wrong. Deep down I know I have the skills and am able to photograph the wedding, but the anxious part of my brain is stronger and makes me doubt everything.
Although I am facing what seems mentally like insurmountable obstacles, I know how important it is to take chances and step outside of your comfort zone. I know that this challenge will only lead to growth and make me realize that I am more capable than I think I am. Every step forward is a small step in the right direction. It was the same thing when I was learning to drive. My family just wanted me to be able to drive from Point A to Point B. It took me a long time to feel comfortable doing that, but eventually I did and eventually I started taking small steps outside my comfort zone and today, although I don’t drive anywhere far, I feel more confident in my abilities.
There are ways to empower yourself when you’re facing these mental obstacles. Here is what helps me, and what I’m doing today to make my foray outside of my comfort zone a successful one:
♦ Keep cell phone nearby. To me, my cell phone is my lifeline. If I have it nearby, I know I am never truly alone. I can reach out to anyone in an instant. If I’m feeling anxious, I know I can just dial my husband to calm me down and help me refocus.
♦ Talk to loved ones. When I started feeling anxious about the wedding days ago, I talked to my husband about how I was feeling. It’s so important that when you start feeling those anxious feelings to talk to someone. Don’t internalize them because it will only make the situation worse. When you have anxiety, a lot of times your brain can’t be trusted. It tells you false things and makes you believe them. Talk to someone outside of yourself that you trust and love. They can help you see things in a different light.
♦ Think of your successes. It’s important to think about all you have done that has been positive. Try to think of all the times you have proved yourself wrong and what good things those experiences have led to. If you look backwards, and review things you have successfully done, you will remember that good things can come out of stepping outside of your comfort zone.
♦ Essential oils. Essential oils are a huge go-to for me. They are a way I can help myself if I’m feeling anxious. Essential oils are amazing because they can energize you, calm you, lift your mood. On days like today, you can bet that I will be packing calming essential oils in my camera bag such as Lavender, Stress Away, and one of my absolute favorites, Sacred Mountain. Know what oils can calm you down and keep them close by.
♦ Write. Writing really helps you get out of your head. Write down how you’re feeling. Write down your fears. Write down what you are looking forward to. Get everything you are feeling out on paper. If you feel comfortable, share it with a loved one. Usually, when I’m feeling anxious, my husband has me write “Pro” and “Con” lists and it really helps to put things in perspective. Then we talk about everything I have written down.
♦ The hardest one: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. If you’re having anxious thoughts and already feeling like you can’t do something, believe in yourself. Know you can. You won’t die. Everything will be alright. Just be yourself. Believe that you can and you will! This is more of a mental thing that goes completely against what your brain is telling you, but it’s super important or else you won’t find the inner strength to step outside of your comfort zone. Tell yourself everything will be fine, breathe, and take that small step forward.
It’s crazy how powerful the mind is. But you have to be stronger than all your doubts. It’s easier said than done. I know that. But I also know that come 2:00 pm I will be in my car heading to the wedding. Even if I’m freaking out at that moment, I know that I am taking a small positive step forward outside my comfort zone. And, as everyone tells me, once I’m doing my thing I will be fine.
And, if my husband is correct (and he usually is), then by 11:00 pm tonight I will be home telling my husband how much fun I had, telling him about all the amazing shots I got, and loading up my computer to show him my fun-filled day.
This is my own personal review and I have not received any compensation for it.
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