The idea of comfort zones shouldn’t be new to anyone. Comfort zones bring up the concept of safety like a warm blanket that we can cover our heads with when we get scared. Our homes, sometimes places of work, the gym, and just about any place that we feel welcome can be a comfort zone.
The first thing I think of when I think of a comfort zone is just being in my house with my family; the doors closed, watching a movie, and just relaxing. Sometimes we hear people talk about stepping out of our comfort zones to experience new things. These new things are supposed to help us grow and become better people.
Identifying Your Comfort Zones
Now take a moment and think about how the environment we grew up in helped to create that comfort zone. Homes that were happy, stable, and social allowed us to know that those things are normal and are what we need to feel safe. What if the opposite was true? A home where there was fighting, scarcity of food, trauma, and safety was not guaranteed. What would your comfort zone be then?
Comfort vs. Anxiety
The reason that I bring this up in talking about anxiety is that anxiety is the brain trying to tell us that something isn’t right, either in the moment or in the future. What we consider right can largely be traced back to how our brains have been wired growing up. So if you grew up in a house with chaos, you know your role, the rules, and what to expect. Put that person in a stable home without chaos, and things get fuzzy. This can play out in self-sabotage, self-fulfilling prophecies, or sometimes just picking your life apart to see why things feel so strange when things are going well.
Protecting Your Comfort Zones
A common thing I hear is “Things are going really good and I am so anxious. I just don’t understand.” Waiting for the other shoe to drop is another way of looking at it. So what do you do about it?
First I recommend looking at what the expectations you have put on yourself and the relationships you are in. Have the willingness to talk to the people close to you about the fears and where they come from.
Be willing to have people in your life that can set boundaries and can call you out when you start to get in your own way.
Lastly, give yourself a little grace. Realize that you are not going to do it perfectly and no one should expect you to. Make a mistake, own it, and then do something different. Takes time to rewire your brain to accept things can be ok in the calm.
At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock TX, we specialize in working with men who are struggling with anxiety. We are ready and willing to help makes sense of the chaos and work together to find calm.
Learn more about the Anxiety Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.