Mental Health Matters | Comfort zones

Coffee image for Film Stories' regular mental health column
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The importance of knowing where our comfort zones are, so we can choose when and where we go beyond them.

Hello and a very warm welcome to the bit on the Film Stories site where we stop for a bit, and chat about mental health. We bring in bits of wellbeing too, as well as just nattering about the things that may be affecting you, or people around you. It’s a weekly series, no radical life solutions are offered. Hopefully, there’s something over the collection of articles that we’ve run that’ll be of use to you.

This week, a few words on comfort zones. It’s something we’ve touched on a little before, but it’s specifically the importance of working out just where your comfort zones are.

It’s a broad topic of course, and a comfort zone could be something relevant to work, or the relationship you may be in, or just when you’re with friends. Just knowing where you’re comfortable and happy, which means in turn that you recognise fairly quickly when you’re being pushed out of that comfort zone.

It’s impossible to recognise the latter without understanding the former, and of course it’s not an exact science. But most of us I think have a general idea – a fuzzy idea, sure – of our levels of comfort.

Understanding this is really important, I think. In turn, what this lets us do is make an actual choice when a situation emerges that’d require us to push the edges of said zones. Perhaps even to go beyond them. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing to push ourselves into slightly new areas per se, just that we need to have agency over our own decisions there. We need to be making the choice, or going along with the choice, to do so. That might be doing a big presentation, having an extra drink on a night out, going somewhere difference, or even turning off Con Air half way through. All things that people, understandably, might not be comfortable with.

The human brain is a funny thing, and very capable of misleading us. But also, most of have some instinctual feel for things, and the trick then is trusting those instincts. Of believing ourselves when we say that our level of comfort is in such and such a place, and we’re not going to feel comfortable doing things beyond that.

Sometimes, we’re just not very good at trusting what our brain is telling us. And while I’m not suggesting that a comfort zone should be a hard boundary, it is nonetheless worth recognising it, and making choices with it in mind.

Thanks, as always, for reading. This column will return next week.

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