How do you cope when you feel anxious in social situations? My go-to strategy was always avoidance. I’d choose not to do anything that would put me in what I’d imagine to be an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes, I’d wish so hard that I would become sick so I didn’t have to go somewhere, that I could actually think myself into being ill.
So there I was, fearfully avoiding the good things in life, staying safely within my apple-size comfort zone. But that wasn’t a life, was it? I didn’t go out. I didn’t have a job. I was messing up applications so I’d never get a job interview. I was too afraid to go to university. It was a lonely and unhappy existence. Not a life. And in all honesty, I couldn’t see things getting any better for me. I really thought that this was just the way I was. Nothing could possibly change it. If you’ve been there too, you’ll know what a horrible place that is to be. It’s a struggle to see past the darkness.
So how do you go from being afraid of everything, to being able to present to 100 people? (which is one of the things I achieved that the younger me would never believe)
Small comfort zone stretches.
What is a comfort zone stretch?
A comfort zone stretch is uncomfortable, awkward, challenging and a big dose of feel good once you’ve done it! It’s something that we all have to do to learn and grow. It means trying something new; doing something you’re not skilled at; going to a new place; and choosing to be in unfamiliar situations.
Did you know your comfort zone can actually grow?
It’s true – the more you push the boundaries of your comfort zone, the more experiences you become comfortable with, the less you feel anxious about.
How does comfort zone stretching work in practise?
It’s about taking gradual steps towards something that you want to achieve. If your big aim is to catch a bus to town, go shopping and sit in a cafe with the coffee you just purchased – all on your own, but you haven’t been out on your own in months, then that’s likely to be much more than a stretch and send you straight into a panic! What you really need to do is take lots of small steps to work your way up to this, over a decent amount of time. There’s a lot in that one trip that you can use to create some smaller, easier comfort zone stretches that you could take on starting tomorrow!
What have you got to lose?
All it take is 4 simple steps you can easily take to start feeling at ease in social situations, and we have a free guide to walk you through that:
Hayley shares her personal stories of feeling shy, socially anxious, ‘not good enough’ and fearfully avoiding the good things in life. Growing her confidence through coaching, gradually stretching her comfort zone and connecting with others, she now uses everything she has learned to help other people grow their confidence in her role as a coach. Hayley is passionate about connecting people with similar stories and creating safe, supportive spaces to make friends and try new things. Hayley dreams of a time when all of the strengths, skills and goodness in ‘quiet’ is recognised and appreciated as readily as being bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight is right now.