Friday, March 29, 2013

Our Comfort Zone

The term 'Comfort Zone' gets a bad rap.  But it's a catch all term that's used to identify things that are not in our best interest to indulge in.  We hear, "To get the changes you need, you need to get out of your comfort zone".  It probably comes from the use of the term when describing food that isn't the best for us but we grew up calling, here in the south, good down home cooking.  Or turning off the computer or the TV and getting up off the comfortable couch.

Perhaps the way to think about it is not to think of it as getting out of our comfort zone, but changing what we view as our comfort zone.  A lot of us have hobbies, both active and inactive, that if we really thought about it, are our personal comfort zones.  As adult athletes we get pleasure form our motion.  We are the most 'comfortable' when we are moving at a relaxed pace, in beautiful, interesting surroundings.  For us it doesn't get better than that.  We have other hobbies that we are just as passionate about, reading, sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, or any of a thousand more.  These are the hobbies that exercise our minds while relaxing us.  For me it's my writing, I always feel much more refreshed after getting thoughts down on paper.  These are our healthy comfort zones.

We may be doing a disservice to those we are trying to motivate by telling them to get out of their comfort zones.  We should instead say that to move forward and get the results we want out of life we need to change what we consider our comfort zones.  We are currently implying that you have to be uncomfortable and in pain to be progressing.  We know it doesn't have to be that way.  But we are implying that it does.  Yes pushing our limits can be tiring and we can be sore the next day, but we soon learn that is a sign that we did good not a reason to suffer.

When a person is beginning an exercise program it can be uncomfortable at first.  The first 20 minutes or so of motion, until we are warmed up, isn't very pleasant, but once we are warm and moving smoothly it is a lot better.  A beginner doesn't think of it that way.  They have heard they have to get out of their comfort zone.  They have also heard that 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week is a good beginning.  So we can be sending a mixed message there without meaning to.

The right way to look at it is that we should change our unhealthy, Comfort Zones', to healthy and productive ones instead.  That way we are sending the right message.  Comfort zones can be a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks for reading.


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