The title for this post sounds like lyrics from a country song, doesn't it? 😀
I am writing this blog post to provide wellness information and to help readers when they approach transitions. Whether you are considering becoming an international educator or preparing for your fourth move, you should consider how to prepare.
As human beings, we naturally feel comfortable operating within our COMFORT ZONE, experiencing our daily routines and knowing what will happen. The following seven strategies developed by the researchers at Positive Psychology can help us practice and become more fluid in getting into our GROWTH ZONE.
As teachers, we strive to become lifelong learners with a growth mindset. When we do so, we are able to skip the FEAR ZONE depicted in the graphic above and more seamlessly slide into our LEARNING and GROWTH zones. We can then draw on this capability when transitioning from our home country or current international teaching post to a new school and nation.
Building on your growing knowledge of Positive Psychology and wellness (search for “wellness” on our site), look to reach into your wellness toolkit to find which Character Strengths (link) and PERMAH (link) pillars you can apply to each of the seven strategies listed below.
Positive Psychology offers a very in-depth article on how to leave one’s comfort zone to move into our GROWTH ZONE. Here are a few of the takeaways taken directly from the article.
1. Do everyday things differently.
In everyday life, there are ample opportunities to challenge yourself. Turn off your smartphone and television while having dinner, decide what to wear more quickly, or just slow down to take in the surroundings on a walk. These changes break you out of old, comfortable routines.
2. Expand your professional skill set.
Growing your skill set can foster creativity, refresh self-confidence, and increase employability. Speaking, negotiation and leadership skills can represent a new challenge for many people. Investing in them can build resilience and personal satisfaction and open up more opportunities than ever.
3. Try a new diet.
Many want to improve their diets and stop relying on ‘comfort foods.’ Doing so often means trying something new. Sticking to a healthy diet can be challenging and rewarding, with self-efficacy growing as you hit milestone goals.
4. Take workouts to the next level.
Similarly, many aspire to this goal. For some, it means walking their first 5K, but for others, it could be completing a triathlon. Aiming high with exercise is symbolic of leaving the COMFORT ZONE and a great way to get the ball rolling.
5. Get creative.
Creativity – from writing a poem to building a business – usually involves risk. Creative endeavors involve stepping into the unknown, failing, and learning as expected outcomes. Exercising creativity is an excellent way to train yourself to have a growth mindset and let go of a need for perfection from the outset.
6. Challenge your beliefs.
It’s easy to get stuck in our ways, but this can lead to complacency – a hallmark of being in the COMFORT ZONE. While exploring alternative perspectives can be uncomfortable, it enables growth and insight by challenging entrenched beliefs. This might take several forms, such as reading varied book genres, diversifying whom you talk to, and visiting new places.
7. Practice honesty.
When employed sensitively, honesty can be a tremendous catalyst for personal growth. Whether being straight with yourself in a private journal or telling someone close how you feel, engaging the Character Strength of honesty forces people out of their COMFORT ZONE. Through honest communication, we can understand ourselves better and build deeper bonds with others.
*Positive Psychology also put together some helpful descriptors for the ZONES graphic that you can adapt for use in your classroom.
Explore the other posts in our Wellness Series: