child with mudra overcoming a challenge with grace and strength

Spiritual practice has its roots in teaching us to stay in our greatest challenge rather than fleeing. Are you one to flee? How can you stay in your challenge?

Here’s the first of my 8 tips to support you during challenging times and help you rise above a challenge with grace and power.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you drive, you’ll be familiar with the ‘biting point’ on a manual car whereby you need to find the balance between acceleration and clutch control.  When you find it, the car hums along with ease however when you don’t the car either jerks around in disgust or groans in angst due to inertia.

It could be said that being in and stepping out of your comfort zone is quite similar. When you’re in your comfort zone you tend to trundle along making little or no effort to consider what else is going on. If you choose to step out of your comfort zone over zealously you could find yourself tripping over what you failed to see and swearing that you’ll never do it again.

So finding that ‘biting point’ is essential to moving the goal posts further away from your comfort blanket. ‘Optimal Anxiety’ is just that. Explained by two psychologists (Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson) in 1908, optimal anxiety is when you’re just outside of your comfort zone.

Through experimentation, they discovered that when you’re in your comfort zone your performance is minimum. In order to create maximum performance you need to elevate your stress levels so that they are slightly higher than normal. Too much stress causes a sharp performance decrease and too little creates minimal production. Optimal anxiety is the ‘biting point’ that delivers amazing results.

When you step out of your comfort zone regularly, you’ll be able to respond to new and unexpected challenges more powerfully. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston encourages us not to pretend that fear and anxiety don’t exist.

She suggests that by creating your own challenges in a controlled and manageable environment, you’ll prepare your mind for the curve balls life throws at you. Not only will you build confidence in your ability to cope with daily challenges, you’ll also notice how ‘productive discomfort’ becomes the norm.

Thank you for reading my blog. I’d love to know your thoughts on overcoming challenges. Why not post your comments below.

Next month: Rising Above Life's Challenges - Step 2 Remember....You Are Not Alone