Tip #75: Instead of associating trying new things with fear, associate trying new things with curiosity.
The why: For someone with anxiety, stepping outside of the comfort zone is a big, huge deal.
Trying new things? Forget about it. That new food could kill me!
Going new places? How about no. There might be wasps there!
Making new friends. Nope. What if I say something wrong and they hate me!
The above is pretty much what runs through my mind everytime I am confronted with stepping outside of my comfort zone. No matter where I go out to eat, I will most likely order the same thing every time; steak and fries.
But in truth, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Once you burst through that door into the unknown, that’s when life really begins to get interesting.
Coming out of the protective shell I created around myself because of my anxiety was a long, scary and difficult process, one that in some ways I am still going through.
But I will now share with you, dear reader, a top tip on how to get that sledgehammer and break out of your shell.
Replace fear with curiosity.
This exercise is all about retraining your mind. Instead of viewing moving out of the comfort zone as a hellish drag that will definitely end in accidental nudity or fire, view it as a chance to learn and expand.
For instance, if you are out at a restaurant or diner and someone says:
“Oh you must try this, it’s delicious!”
And you immediately go:
“Heck no I’m sticking to my steak and fries. It could be dangerous!”
“This is an opportunity for me to learn and grow. I am curious to know what it tastes like.”
If someone invites you to do an activity you’ve never tried before, instead of thinking:
“What if it goes wrong, what if I fail at it, what if it’s terrible, what if there are wasps, what if…”
Say to yourself:
“This is an opportunity for me to learn and grow. I am curious to see what this activity is like, I may love it! If I hate it, at least I’ll know.”
Retraining your brain to think positively about new experiences will allow you to take on a greater amount of challenges in your life.
Instead of immediately closing down shop at the thought of change, you’ll embrace it, and begin to a very knowledgeable and exciting life.
You can take baby steps.
I’m not asking anyone to jump out of a plane in a skydiving-anxiety-busting mission (although shock exposure to your fears could work), you can take it slowly.
Start by ordering a different dish, switching up the route you take to work, be the first to speak in a meeting, go explore your nearest park or get outdoors.
Stop being stuck in your routine.
You start out with the small, and soon your mind will adjust to the new perspective on things.
You’ll soon find yourself saying yes to new opportunities, new people, new things. Your life will feel like a huge balloon, expanding and expanding with love, experiences and adventure.
I believe in you.