In autumn more of my clients complain of fears, worries and depression. And this year, maybe due to the corona restrictions, it seems even more common than usual.
Our brain has a wonderful ability: it can generalize. This means that it can create a general expectation from a few observations. This is very helpful in everyday life. We don’t like mustard or pepper. Our brain prevents us from ordering a spicy meal in an Asian restaurant. We like pictures of Monet and Renoir. We probably also like an exhibition on Impressionist painting.
Unfortunately, the ability to generalize has an unpleasant side effect: we also generalize what we experienced as difficult, painful, or uncomfortable to be unpleasant next time again:
- Talking to my boss was weird. It is better to avoid discussions with the administration.
- It hurt at the doctor’s. I better not go in the future.
- I got into a rain shower and got very wet and cold. I better stay indoors in the fall.
- Someone is making fun of my clothing style. In the future I will avoid contact with people.
- Nobody wanted to talk to me at the party. I’m just not a person for partying.
It is normal for something to go wrong all the time. This is not a problem if we don’t let it stop us from moving on. Unfortunately, our brains often draw the wrong conclusions. Once it went wrong, it will always go wrong. And similar things also go wrong. So our life becomes narrower, lonelier and more difficult every day. Day after day we are building our limits a little tighter. Our comfort zone is getting smaller.
Some people restrict their lives in such a way that in the end they just stay in bed and no longer dare to go out.
There is a way out of our inner prison. We have to expand our borders. Get out of the comfort zone. Do something challenging, new, scary. Catch the spider yourself and bring it out. Make the long postponed phone call. Address difficulties in your relationship. Start dancing, singing or doing sports. Invite guests. Go on a walk in rainy weather…
It starts with small steps. More freedom. Better life.
Get out of your comfort zone!