Stepping out of your comfort zone is wonderful for your confidence, self-esteem and creativity.  It also means that life is never boring and neither are you!

You’ll experience greater enjoyment as you try out new experiences.  You’ll stimulate your brain which is crucial to mental health.  It will provide you with the resilience to deal more easily when unexpected changes happen in your life.  Stepping out of your comfort zone helps you to improve yourself and become a happy, fun person that has lots of interesting things to talk about.

Here are my 13 easy, practical and effective ways to expand your comfort zone, so that you can reap the above rewards as well.

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1.  Go to another country

Travelling is one of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone.  You will experience new cultures, different customs, unique landscapes, flora and fauna and sometimes another language.  Working with different currencies is good for your brain too!

When I travelled to South East Asia for the first time back in 2000, I remember the discomfort of having the injections before I left, getting food poisoning on New Year’s Eve in Malaysia and bartering with taxi drivers that wouldn’t put on their metre.  However, I also remember the excitement of seeing a monkey for the first time, exploring amazing tropical rain forests and spending time on beautiful beaches with good friends.

2.  Unplug

Take a break from today’s interconnected world.  Leave your phone at home, turn off the TV, radio and internet.  This worked wonders for me when I was travelling in the Australia outback with my wife.  We had no connection to the outside world for 3 days! – That felt a little uncomfortable and I knew that if we got stuck, we would be reliant on people coming the other way to help.  I also remember how excited I was when I got my first “ping” as we reconnected with the internet on our approach to Alice Springs.

3.  Start a Conversation with someone new

This doesn’t have to be a complete stranger.  Strike up a conversation with someone new at work, the barista in your local coffee shop, a neighbour or someone in the queue.  See if you can maintain a conversation for 30 seconds or longer.  Another benefit of doing this, as that it gets you focussing on other people (rather than your own internal thoughts) and that is good for your mental health too.

4.  Give yourself a thrill

Do something that is a little scary or fearful.  You could step out of your comfort zone by trying scuba diving, skydiving or a roller coaster ride.  If that doesn’t float your boat (or is too scary), try giving a speech or taking a dance class.  I tried scuba diving a few years ago in the Maldives.  I was super scared to start with, but once I got underwater and started seeing the corals and tropical fish, that sense of fear started to ease.  Afterwards, it was lovely to have that sense of elation that comes from overcoming a fear.

5.  Eat something new

Try a new restaurant that serves food from an unusual country that you have never tasted before.  Examples are Lebanese, Pakistani or Korean food.   If you’ve never tried raw fish, go to a Japanese restaurant and give it a go.  I tried raw fish for the first time about 3 years ago and it tasted much better than I thought it would!  You could also try choosing different fruits

or vegetables from the grocery store.

6.  Sit in a different place

Sit on the couch instead of your favourite chair.  Sit at a different seat on the dining table.  If you’re working at home, work in different places and notice how that feels.  One of my suggestions for overcoming procrastination involves working in different locations.

7.  Learn something new

Learning can be fun, but it can be unsettling as well, as we grapple with new ideas and concepts that require our complete attention and focus.  Think back to learning how to drive a car and remember how that felt.  Our brains are designed to learn and make new neural connections, so this is a great way to step out of your comfort zone.  Try learning to use a new computer software or how to build a website.  Other examples could be learning a musical instrument, learning to sail, taking part in a dance class or learning to cook a new recipe.  The list is endless.

8.  Apply for a job that is a significant step-up

If work is a little dull, predictable or boring, try applying for other jobs that are a significant step-up from what you are currently doing.  On two occasions, I have applied for jobs that had a salary that was 20% higher than what I was currently earning.  On both occasions, I got the job!  Once I was doing the job, I soon got used to the new skills and responsibilities and enjoyed the financial rewards that came with it!

9.  Start Slowly

If something seems daunting, just do the first step.  Then pause and see what that feels like.  In most cases, the discomfort will be lower than you expected and that sense of confidence will start to grow.  Then do the second step and keep going.  This can be a great one for gym routines.  If doing 50 push-ups seems like a nightmare, start with 5 and progress from there.

10.  Take a new route home from work.

Drive home via a different route.  Turn off your Sat Nav or Google Maps and trust your instincts and see where you end up.  Hopefully you’ll make it home for that different recipe that your partner has been experimenting with (because he or she has also been reading this blog post!)

11. Reconnect with someone you had lost touch with on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Social media has allowed me to reconnect with friends from School and University that I thought I would never see or speak to again.  I’m so grateful for that.  However, I always get that sense of discomfort when I first message them.  Questions go through my mind such as “Will they remember me?” or “will they still like me?”.  However, by doing this, I have since met with people that I hadn’t seen for over 10 years and that in itself is an amazing experience.

If you can’t find anyone that you have lost contact with, contact someone that you have not spoken to for at least 6 months and notice how that feels.

12.  Face your Fears

Pick the one thing that is really holding you back, think about all the benefits that doing this will bring and go ahead and do it!  This is one of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone.  Examples could include asking your boss for a raise, inviting someone out for a date, making your first sales call or talking to your partner about something about the relationship that has been bugging you for months or even years.

13.  Become comfortable with discomfort

Stepping out of your comfort zone will never feel completely comfortable (if it is, you will want to step out of your comfort zone more).  Become more accustomed to this discomfort, helps you step out of your comfort zone more often.  You realise that this feeling of discomfort is part of the process of achieving your goals and dreams.

Living consistently outside my comfort zone over the last 2 years has allowed me to record YouTube videos, create this blog and build an online business and brand.  It has also allowed me to challenge myself and grow as a person.

Stepping out of your comfort zone opens up many new possibilities.  I wonder how your life could change if your comfort zone were larger.  Apply some of all of the 13 steps above and notice how you can stretch your comfort zone a little more each day.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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Paul

Is sadness a feeling or emotion? – How about happiness, joy, anger or lust?  And why should you care?

When you know the difference between feelings and emotions, you can identify and change negative behaviours. This includes those that have persisted for years. It also helps you find more peace and happiness.

What are Emotions?

Emotions are physical.  They can be measured objectively.  Blood flow, brain activity, facial expressions and body language all change when we experience an emotion.  They are hard-wired into our brains and core being.  Emotions are instinctive and don’t vary much between people.

Imagine walking with a group of people in Africa.  A lion approaches you.  What emotion would you immediately feel? – Probably fear!  In fact, everyone in the group would experience fear! – How they react to this fear will differ and I’ll come on to this shortly.

The purpose of emotions is to respond to stimuli (like the lion!).  At the most basic level, we are influenced by either danger or reward.  This is hard-wired into our brain and isn’t going to change anytime soon!

Emotions come from a part of the brain known as the amygdala.  It is part of the limbic system or emotional processing centre.  This part of the brain can be illogical, irrational and quite powerful too.

The amygdala sits behind the neocortex which is the part of the brain that deals with conscious thought, reasoning and decision making.

When the amygdala is strongly influenced by a stimuli, logical thinking tends to go out of the window! This is why we sometimes say or do things that we know we shouldn’t do or behave in negative ways!

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What are Feelings?

Unlike emotions, which radiate through our entire body, feelings are purely in our heads.  They come from the neocortex.  The logical brain.  An important point to grasp is that emotions always come first, feelings second.

Unlike emotions which are pretty hard-wired into our psyche, feelings are influenced by our beliefs, memories and experiences.  They are more subjective.  The feeling is the meaning that we give to the emotion.  

Feelings require cognitive input, cannot be measured objectively and are often subconscious.  As a result, feelings vary dramatically between different people and different situations.  The person’s personality affects the feelings that they experience.

Knowing the difference between feelings and emotions is important because you have lots of control over your feelings and little control over your emotions.

Some Key Differences between Feelings and Emotions

Now lets look at some important differences between feelings and emotions.

Emotions can be very intense but are temporary.  Laughing is the behaviour of experiencing joy.  People may cry when they experience sadness.  These are both emotions and the act of laughing and crying will stop after a short time.  Feelings are much less intense, but can be sustained for long periods.   Love and worry are both feelings and both can be maintained for long periods of time.

We experience sadness when someone dies that is close to us. Sadness will last longer in this situation.  However, it is still an emotion and it will eventually leave.  If it doesn’t, then it is replaced by feelings such as depression.

Emotions alert us to imminent dangers and prepare us for immediate survival by giving us the energy and strength to fight or run away fast (flight).  Feelings alert us to anticipated dangers and ensure our long-term survival.   So going back to the lion example, the worry or anxiety that comes from thinking about being attacked by a lion is a feeling.  It protects us from being in a situation where this could happen!  If you were approached by a lion, then the emotion of fear would kick in whether you like it or not!

Emotions affect the initial attitude that you have towards a situation.  This could be anger about something another person said or did.  If you keep brewing about it in your head, then you will start to develop feelings of bitterness or resentment.

Emotions determine what we like, dislike and what are good and bad actions.  Experiencing emotions such as joy or enthusiasm will let you know that you’re doing good things and enjoying them.   Feelings of worry, bitterness or resentment is a sign from within that it’s time to do something different or that it’s time to evaluate how your actions could be affecting other people.

Feelings are created by persistent thoughts and the beliefs behind them.  Emotions are created by situations and events in life.

So which are which?

The following are typical emotions.

  • Joy
  • Fear
  • Enthusiasm
  • Anger
  • Lust
  • Sadness

and these are typical feelings.

  • Happiness
  • Worry
  • Contentment
  • Bitterness
  • Love
  • Depression

When it gets complicated

Emotions are experienced by imagined as well as real events. Think about watching a scary movie.  Did you notice your heart beating faster and other physical changes?  Your neocortex knows it’s just a film, but the amygdala still sends the emotional response.   Think back to a good (or bad) time in the past and start to relive that, you will probably notice the emotion starting to emerge.

You imagine a situation going badly. The emotion created by the imagined situation starts to drive a negative feeling, which then fuels the emotion even more, which then drives the feeling.  A vicious cycle emerges and you begin to feel like an emotional rollercoaster with no sense of control.  At times like this, no positive thinking in the world is going to help!

Identifying and separating the emotions can help develop a sense of detachment.  You now know that it’s extremely hard to control emotions directly, so choose to ignore them and let them go.  Techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), The Sedona Method and Regression Therapy (used in Hypnosis) are good tools to help with this.

Then work on the feelings and start looking at the beliefs, memories and life experiences that could be contributing to these feelings.  Affirmations, positive visualisation and monitoring and challenging negative thoughts are all good strategies to use here.   Remember, feelings are generated from our thoughts, memories and beliefs about previous experiences.  These are things we can change.

In Summary

Knowing the differences between feelings and emotions means that when you feel negative emotions, you will know why. You can choose to ignore them, work on changing your feelings instead, maintain your sense of purpose, identity and move towards your goals.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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Creative Visualization when done correctly is an immensely powerful way to reprogram your subconscious mind.  It is also a skill that improves with practice, just like learning a sport or musical instrument.

Scientific studies have shown that creative visualization actually changes the neural pathways in the brain.  This is often known as neuroplasticity.  Other studies have shown that creative visualization influences gene response, anti-body count and this has been proved in blood tests.  This is great news if you want to use creative visualization to improve your immune system or help with healing.

Here are some of the areas in life where creative visualization could help you.

  • Improving a sport or general fitness level.  Olympic Athletes have been using creative visualization for many years and see it as an essential part of their training.
  • Increasing performance at work or in your business.
  • Making more money
  • Improving your relationships
  • To generate the creative juices to write, paint or compose music.

The list is endless.  I reckon creative visualization could help improve almost any area of your life.

To get stunning results with creative visualization, you need to practice it the right way.  Keep reading to learn the 10 steps to transform your creative visualization skills.

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1. Be in a relaxed state

The purpose of creative visualization is to reprogram your subconscious mind so that you automatically do things differently in the future.  For this to work, you need to reduce the impact of your conscious mind. This is best done by slowing down your brain waves to an Alpha or Theta brain wave state.

We are naturally in Alpha or Theta just before falling asleep and when we wake up, so these are excellent times to practice creative visualization.  You can also get into an Alpha or Theta state through meditation or self-hypnosis.

2. Visualize on a large cinema screen.

Many people simply close their eyes and start to visualize on the back of their eye lids.  This creates small images that aren’t compelling to the subconscious mind.  So instead, imagine that you are sitting in the best seat of a large cinema.  You are the only person in this cinema and the screen is huge! – You will project the images of your future on to this gigantic cinema screen.

creative visualization - self help for life

3. Acknowledge where you are now

Start by acknowledging, accepting and being grateful for where you are now, what you have now and how far you have already come.  You are probably already in a much better position than most people in the world.

This step is crucial.  It puts your mind in a state of positive expectancy and increases your vibrational energy (important for manifesting).  It also bridges the gap between where you are now and what you want.  Sometimes this gap can be huge and unbelievable at first.  Acknowledging where you are now will help bridge that gap and reduce the chances of the critical conscious mind getting in the way.

4. Start small and get bigger

After acknowledging where you are now, start visualizing the smaller positive changes and then move to the larger ones.  This will help increase your belief and its often easier to make the smaller changes more real when just starting out with creative visualization.

Your visualization can then unfold like a movie plot with all the exciting goals and dreams coming true at the end!

5. Use all your senses

When visualizing, use all 5 senses.  Notice the sounds, how you talk to others, how they talk to you and how you now talk to yourself.  Feel the sensations as you touch, taste or smell this new thing that you are creating in your life.

Let’s say you are visualizing a new luxury car.  You could notice the sound of the engine, your favourite music on the high-end car stereo.  Or notice the sensation of turning the steering wheel or the g-force when going around corners.  Perhaps you would smell the leather seats or the feeling of air washing over you when you have the top down.

Although we use all 5 senses everyday, most people develop a preference for one of them.  It’s usually either Visual (seeing), Auditory (hearing) or Kinesthetic (feeling).  When visualizing, notice the sense that works best for you and focus more on that sense.  However, don’t ignore the others.

Ideally, you want to make your visualization a 5 sensory experience.  By doing this, you activate the same areas of the brain that are used when you are having this experience for real.  So your brain thinks you are actually having a real experience!  How powerful is that to reprogramming your subconscious mind!

6. Use emotions

Incorporating all 5 senses will help bring emotion to your visualization.  However, you can also consciously turn up the emotional level of your visualizations.  Really stir-up the emotions and feel the excitement, exuberance, passion, happiness, fulfilment or whatever other emotion it is for you.

Bob Proctor states that Thoughts + Emotions = Attraction.  Many people under-estimate the emotional component to manifesting.  Ensure that you maximise your emotions when visualizing.  This will rapidly speed up your results.

7. Focus on the what – forget the how

When using creative visualization, focus on what you want to achieve or manifest.  Don’t get caught up in the how.  Once your subconscious mind has a full sensory experience of what you want, it will help you find the how.

8. Let Go

You now want to let go or release the visualization to the universe and let things happen.  This is probably the hardest step, but it will come with practice.  You want to achieve a state of positive expectancy.  It’s a similar feeling to ordering a meal in a restaurant.  Once you place the order, you don’t worry about whether it will arrive or not.  Instead you have a state of positive expectancy.

Worry, anxiety, frustration and other negative feelings will short-circuit the commands you have just given to the universe (and your subconscious) through your creative visualization.

Having said that, it is okay to repeat the same visualization multiple times.  Just make sure that you let go after each visualization and maintain a state of positive expectancy.

9. Finish off with “Let this or something better happen”

Complete your visualization with the affirmation “Let this or something better happen”.

10.  Take Action

After you finish your visualization, do something to make it happen.  This might be reading to gain some knowledge, looking at the house or car of your dreams.  By taking some kind of action, you establish an intention.  You are showing the Universe that you are serious.  This also helps reduce any fear or worry about achieving something big.

To take you through the above 10 steps, I have created a Guided Creative Visualization MP3 recording for you.  Its completely free and you can download it by clicking the button below.

I hope you enjoy putting these steps into action and noticing your Creative Visualization skills flourish as a result.

This article is based on a webinar on Creative Visualization by Vishen Lakhiani and Lisa Nichols.   This is part of their FREE Introductory course that you can access here.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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The ability to boost your confidence is essential to success.  Confident people are happier, more fulfilled and have greater levels of self-esteem.  They are less stressed and anxious because they believe that they are better able to handle whatever comes their way.

However, if self-confidence doesn’t come naturally to you, there are many things that you can do to give your confidence a boost.  In this article, I cover ten powerful ways to boost your confidence.

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1. Use Positive Self Talk

Your thoughts affect your feelings which then affect your actions.  So to feel confident, you first need to think confident and positive thoughts.  Repetitive negative thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “This is hard” become negative affirmations.  As you’re unconsciously using negative affirmations anyway, it’s time to switch these to positive affirmations.

To do this effectively, I suggest that you memorize some affirmations, so that you can repeat them immediately as soon as a negative thought arises.  Here are some good ones:

  • I accomplish my daily goals with ease.
  • I am prepared to meet any challenge that comes my way.
  • Confidence radiates from me at all times.

Affirmations can dramatically change your life, one thought at a time!

2. Challenge Yourself

Pushing yourself to do new things will help boost your confidence.  Find things that challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone.  We are able to do far more than we realise.  It’s only when you tackle the challenge head-on that you will get that feeling of elation.  You will also discover that you can do things that you never thought you could.  This will massively boost your confidence.

3. Fake it using Body Language

If you don’t feel confident, you can still take steps to look confident.  Here are some things you can do.

  • Stand (or sit) up straight
  • Hold your head up
  • Have a relaxed open posture
  • Maintain eye contact with other people
  • Smile

The body and mind are linked, so by “faking it” using body language, your thoughts and feelings will start to become more positive.  Try it today.  You’ll be surprised at how effective this is.

4. Set Goals

There is something different about a person that has goals.  They have a sense of purpose and direction.  They act decisively as they have a roadmap to follow.  Once you achieve the goals you set, this will boost your confidence as well.  However make sure that your goals are realistic and attainable.  Setting extremely challenging goals that are very hard to achieve could have the opposite effect on your self-confidence.

5. Be Prepared

If you haven’t prepared for a presentation, exam or meeting, then it’s natural to feel unconfident.  This is the minds way of protecting us and rightly so too.  Whilst you could use positive affirmations or body language to look and feel confident, a part of your brain (known as the critical faculty) will continually remind you that you haven’t prepared fully.  This will cause a conflict.

So ensure that you prepare to the best of your ability.  Then however the presentation, meeting or exam goes, you will know that you have done your best.  This in itself will boost your confidence and reduce stress and anxiety.

6. Be Grateful

We naturally tend to focus on what is not working in our lives.  This is not a good way to boost your confidence.  Take a few minutes each day to pay attention to the things that went well.  Give yourself a pat on the back for the things that you are good at.

Here is a wonderful quick reflective exercise that you can do at the end of each day.

  • Identify 3 things that went really well for you today.
  • Notice 3 things that you are grateful for today.
  • List 3 things that you would do differently or better next time.

7. Speak More Slowly

People that lack confidence often speak more quickly, especially when talking to people in authority.  Subconsciously, the person feels that he or she isn’t worth listening to.  To counteract that, they speak more quickly, so that they are not wasting the other person’s time.  So consciously speak more slowly to people in authority.  This will slow down your thinking, keep you in the present and start to increase feelings of confidence.

Also notice how highly confident people speak.  What is the pace of their speech?  What specific words or phrases are they using?  Noticing what other people say gives you a good idea of how they are thinking.

8. Focus on Solutions

A wonderful way to boost your confidence is to focus on solutions. So how do you do that?  When you notice yourself thinking something that is negative, ask a question that will help you find a solution.  Here are some examples:

  • This is far too hard for me – How can I make it easier?
  • I can’t seem to lose this weight – What new things could I try?
  • I hate my job – What things can I do today to love my job or find a better job?

We often get stuck in a negative mode of thinking.  Simply asking yourself questions that help you focus on solutions will give you a confidence boost.  Why? – because you have given yourself new choices, new solutions and a sense of personal control over the situation.

9.  Do Something that you have been putting off

Things that have been on your “to do” list for weeks or months can really sap your confidence and energy.  Choose one of these items and do it first thing in the morning.  Notice how it feels to get that job out of the way and off your mind.  It feels good right?

10. Embrace Uncertainty

Confidence comes when you have certainty over the outcome.  When you know that you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to make something happen, you will be 100% confident.

However in many situations, having the knowledge, skills and ability does not always mean that you will achieve the outcome.  There are other factors at play, such as interactions with other people.

What you can do is be 100% confident that you will do your best, irrespective of the outcome.  This will allow you to let go of predicting the outcome and base your confidence on the fact that you will do your best, then notice what happens and be okay with that.   So your now basing your feelings of confidence on something that is now within your control.  This is a great way to boost your confidence.

Now is the time to apply these 10 powerful ways to boost your confidence and notice your self-confidence skyrocket!

Click the button below to download my FREE 100% Confidence Hypnosis MP3.  This will really help you develop the new kind of confidence that I talk about in this article and video.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love you hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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Thank you for reading this article.  Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

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