On one of my favourite TV shows Old People’s Home for Teenagers (Tuesday nights ABC or iview), they conducted a ‘behaviour stretch intervention’, where the ‘old people’ and teenagers were placed in a series of concentric circles.
Each circle represents one of 3 zones characterizing our unique range of growth potential in various areas of our lives:
Studies have shown that by engaging in an activity at the edge of our comfort zone and realizing that it's achievable gives us confidence in our ability to thrive in challenging circumstances, which boosts satisfaction and makes us happier and healthier!
The Comfort Zone is where we feel comfortable, safe and secure. We have a sense of familiarity, routine and control but it can be limiting because we're not exploring new opportunities, taking risks or growing as an individual, which makes us bored and complacent.
The Stretch Zone is where we're challenged and pushed to try new things, take risks and step outside of our routines. Here we experience most personal growth and development, build confidence, self-esteem and self-efficacy, The stronger we believe we can do something, the more we'll invest in completing it and the more persistent we'll be
The Panic Zone is where we feel out of our depth, overwhelmed and unable to cope. Anxiety, stress, and fear take over, we're not able to function effectively, and can go into Fight, Flight or Freeze mode, not a healthy or productive place to be.
Understanding the three zones can help us reach our full potential. Aim to spend time regularly in your Stretch Zone, challenge yourself and grow as an individual. Assisted stretching helps you to step outside of your comfort zone in a controlled and safe way to support you to achieve more.