Last updated on January 12th, 2018
We all know that feeling. Your heart rate picks up, your hands are sweaty, and you have a queasy feeling in your stomach.
Anxiety. Self-consciousness. Lack of confidence.
We have all felt it before.
You might get that dreaded pang of anxiety at your first-day training in a new dojo. Perhaps, even when talking to a stranger. No matter the circumstance, the feeling remains the same.
Taking action to get rid of fear and gain confidence
Anxiety can greatly restrict the way you live your life. You might not go out as often as you’d like because of personal fears, or you might never want to sign up for a Parkour class because of the fear of being ridiculed.
A lot of people believe that they are stuck with anxiety. They say things like “Well I am just a nervous person,” Or “I always worry, it’s not my fault.”
Excuses are easy, but trying to change yourself can be hard.
The truth is, no matter if you are dealing with a small amount of anxiety, or a lot of it, you can do something about it.
Introducing Comfort Zone Challenges – The Scientifically Proven Way To Get Over Fears
A comfort zone challenge is simply a conscious decision to put yourself into a situation that causes you to feel anxious; facing stressful situations to get out of your comfort zone.
For example, one comfort zone challenge advocated by Tim Ferris, the famous business coach, and author, was to lie down in a public place. We recommend thirty seconds, but he says to start with ten.
“Just lie down and remain silent on the ground for about ten seconds.”
Even reading about this can give most of us anxiety!
But, the idea is, if you lie down, and commit to being there for thirty seconds, you will see that there was really nothing to be afraid of. At worst, people look at you like you are a bit weird. Then you can get up, and go about your day.
Most people would never put themselves in a situation like this! Most people will cling to their comfort zone no matter what.
More about Comfort Zone Challenges
Till, the creator of the Comfort Zone Crusher, has a whole Ted Talk on this subject, that you can watch below.
How Is The Comfort Zone Challenge Backed By Science?
The comfort zone challenge is similar to an idea in clinical psychology, that is called Exposure Therapy.
The basic idea of Exposure Therapy is to expose people to what makes them afraid in a situation that is 100% safe. It is used to help people recover from PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety.
The great thing is, you don’t need to buy expensive therapy to get the benefits of exposure therapy. You can simply do it yourself with the comfort zone challenge.
How to apply comfort zone challenges in your own life?
If you’ve read this far, then you understand that comfort zone challenges have the power to change your life.
If you feel that fear, worry or general anxiety is holding you back, then you need to imagine yourself if you were free from those restraints.
We all know the importance of fitness, and keeping your body able so you can be strong, flexible, and healthy.
Well, imagine fear as a mental disease. If you were a muscular guy but for some reason, you had skinny legs, you’d know that to be one hundred percent balanced, you’d need to start doing some squats.
If fear is holding you back, imagine who you’d be without it…
The best workout for fear is to get out of your own comfort zone, gradually. This is how you start applying it to your own life.
1Identify situations that make you feel anxious
First, identify an area that you feel anxiety in. It could be starting out a new martial arts class, or even feeling self-conscious when training in Parkour in public.
2Commit to making change
Second, you need to commit to wanting to change. You have to say to yourself,
“I no longer want to feel fear in this situation. I want to excel.”
3Expose yourself to the situation (or something similar)
Next, go to a place where you can do your challenge.
Example: The Classic Comfort Zone Crusher Challenge by Till
We’ll take the example of lying down for thirty seconds in public. Go to a public place, find a busy spot where you aren’t in harm’s way, and lie down for thirty seconds.
The first time you do it you’ll be feeling anxious. Your mind will be filled with excuses, and your body will be filled with nervous energy.
Push past that, make it to thirty seconds, then get up and walk on. Then, do it again, and then again, until lying down in public gives you little to no anxiety.
Other Examples: Related to Parkour and Martial Arts
Afraid of looking stupid when doing Parkour or street callisthenics as a beginner?
Start by doing 5 minutes of simple mobility drills (e.g. quadrupedal motion, crab walk, bear crawl) at a public place. Or, do a series of warm-up drills (jumping jacks and push-ups) at an outdoor fitness area.
Consider a less crowded spot for your first time. But, eventually, move on to spots with more people.
Anxious about starting a new martial art?
Sign up for a trial lesson at several dojos. Get a feel of training at different environments until you get comfortable with it.
Afraid to train at the gym for fear of being ridiculed?
Join a gym trial session with a personal trainer. Or, ask a friend to tag along.
By taking small steps to expose yourself to stressful situations, you become more confident in dealing with them.
The Comfort Zone Challenge Can Be Used in Any Area Of Your Life
Apply the comfort zone challenge to any area of your life where you find yourself feeling self-conscious or anxious about.
If you’re having troubles approaching ladies or gentlemen, or need a job but feel too afraid to ask, or want to feel more comfortable in your gym, then you can apply the comfort zone challenge.
Just take what is causing you anxiety, and begin to expose yourself to it in safe doses, and then you will begin to feel more comfortable.
Just like weight training or parkour, the more you do, the more capable you become. That’s how you gain confidence and get rid of anxiety by using the comfort zone challenges.
Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich (Kindle Locations 3873-3874). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Joseph, J.S.; Gray, M.J. (2008). “Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”. Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim: Treatment and Prevention. 1 (4): 69–80.