One of the things that is the most insidious (I’ve always wanted to use that word in writing) about the Comfort Zone and our resulting fears is the way they drain us of hope.  When a fear takes up residence in our Comfort Zone, or even spends much time helping us generate some Indefinite Negative Futures, it becomes a black hole of energy.  As you already know from this blog that’s a natural result of our own natural inclination to look at the worst-case scenarios, as Flight or Fight attempts to help us escape from the thing that is frightening us.  It isn’t a survival trait to look at the roses when there’s a tiger roaring at our door. 

By the same token it isn’t a survival trait (for creatures with brains that can extrapolate dark futures from a problem we’ve turned into a crisis) to live in constant fear and worry.  It’s different for different people, obviously, depending on how much fear and worry is encroaching on their lives.  Some of us, those of us who have fought or are fighting chronic anxiety (every day seems stressful, and there are multiple things that have us anxious) or acute anxiety (panic attacks) feel like we never get a break – that there’s literally never a moment where we can just take a break from all that has us worried.  Some of us wander through our day and feel more or less pretty good, except when X or Y surfaces in our thinking, gets mentioned in our presence.  Then we might fight 20 minutes or an hour of worry, then manage to pack it away again, out beyond the walls of the Comfort Zone, and can forget about it again.

The point is ANY problem that we convert into a thing to fear and run from diminishes our personal power, and prevents us from acting in strength with that problem.  We literally stop clearly thinking about the problem, and move into a reactive and relatively non-thinking response to the issue.  You see this when you read stories about people trapped in real danger situations, and how sometimes they seem to make poor choices.  “Why”? we ask, safe in our comfortable chairs, reading the news.  “Why didn’t they do this, or this, instead?”  They did what they did because they were in life-or-death situations, and while the Flight or Fight Response was doing everything it was supposed to do in helping them attempt to escape that danger, they were not the problem-solving machines they could be if they were not reacting out of fear.

Now take that real danger situation and convert it into a problem-turned-crisis situation.  We’re still acting as if we’re facing hungry wolves, even though what we’re actually facing is a shortage of cash, or a relationship communication problem, or maybe a downturn in the economy.  When we abdicate our responses to Flight or Fight (and that is precisely what we are doing, abdicating) we give away the power to deal with and solve that problem.  And we (oddly enough) then feel weak, helpless, hopeless.

Here’s the good news: we can reclaim that power, that strength, anytime we choose.  Sure, the Comfort Zone is going to start shouting at us to sit down.  You bet that we’ll find ourselves summoning a dozen reasons why this isn’t the right time to deal with this problem – because of course converting it back into a problem to solve will mean facing it, and you’ve told your Comfort Zone this is just too freakin’ scary.  So you’ll have to crest briefly through the rush of feelings and sensations that usually accompany facing a fear.  And that’s another reason you’ll tell yourself not to do it – it’s a drag, or it’s scary, or you’re sick of those feelings, or whatever you tell yourself.  Or you’ll make a plan to do it this weekend, or next week, or after Christmas, or early in 2013 – anytime but right now.

Let me encourage you to take your power back NOW.  Don’t wait.  You won’t do this in a day.  But there really is no better time to start than right now.  (OK, if you are being attacked by angry wolves, wait until you’ve gotten clear of that – THEN face a Comfort Zone fear.)  Strength – freedom – power – they are only as far away as the edge of our Comfort Zone…