A Small List Of Big Ways To Stretch Your Comfort Zone.

A Small List Of Big Ways To Stretch Your Comfort Zone.

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THERE ARE SO MANY write-ups out there about how to step outside your comfort zone in big ways. Try a new class! Go skydiving! Find an unexpected hobby! Turn your hobby into a career!

In my own experience, the biggest changes don’t come in the big, grand moments – they come in the small details. Once those details accumulate, amazing things begin to happen.

For too many of us, the focus on those big-deal moments (like jumping out of a plane or trying that acro-yoga class down the street) means that stepping outside of our comfort zone becomes more of a “sometimes” thing than a tolerance we build or a habit we form. We go for the big, flashy moments because they’re a bigger, flashier story after the fact – when it’s really the missing mini-details that would make our existence exponentially more fun, bold and meaningful in much more than a “sometimes” way.

The mini details that have gotten me out of my own comfort zone and made my life more fun, bold, and meaningful are far from big or flashy. But they’ve got their own stories attached to them, and those stories live just as close to my heart as the stories of the big mega-moments…if not closer. And most of those stories can be traced back to an interaction or instance involving a woman in my life. Usually, my mother.


Growing up, my mom would traverse my younger brother and I around town as her two trusty sidekicks. And while I was proud to be her trusty sidekick, there was one thing that never failed to make me run and hide: the department store dances.

My mom was (and still is) not one to give a hoot about what anyone else feels is the “proper” way to behave. These…let’s call them freestyle routines…didn’t just happen in department stores (Target was a common dance location) and they weren’t confined to just dancing (a good self-made karaoke sesh usually ensued simultaneously), but the juxtaposition of high-end outerwear carousels and my mom’s IDGAF attitude was particularly mortifying to elementary school-aged Me. Here’s how it usually went down: we’d walk into this fancy space with bright-but-not-blinding overhead lighting to pick up school uniforms or a new pair of shoes. Undoubtedly, there would be a fancy piano player on the ground level, pounding away at some upbeat Billy Joel tune or 11 o’clock Hello Dolly number underneath the bright-but-not-blinging overhead lighting. And my thirty-something mother, sandwiched between Youth Apparel and Sale Boots, would sing and dance in the loudest way possible. My brother had three fewer years of life experience than I, which had not yet taught him that this was an absolutely mortifying event. So of course, his 4-year-old self would join my mom in her crazy antics as I ran and hid behind the denim rack.

My mom might have grown up amidst the fineries of Brentwood, CA life, but she’s always had a confidence and craziness about her that’s all her own. And no one – NO ONE – tells her what to do or who to be.

I inherited my mom’s strength and determination at a young age, but it took me a very long time to become ME instead of who I FELT I should be. I was uber-cautious and highly self-conscious. I considered myself “shy” around my peers, when in actuality I was just so longing to fit in that I squelched any impulse that would get me labeled different or odd. I approached life with fierce determination, but my inner Department Store Dancer was locked away in a vault somewhere, lest she should sabotage my attempts at being fabulous.

What a surprise it was to learn that when we let go of trying to fit in, THAT’S when our unique puzzle pieces find their place in the big picture. When we quit censoring our impulses, THAT’S when we become truly fabulous. But there’s no way those impulses will ever start to feel comfy if we stand with our feet firmly planted in our comfort zone.

Maybe you’ve been told not to take yourself so seriously. I get the intention. But I ten-thousand percent disagree.

Take yourself seriously. Take your life, your goals, your loves, your actions – take them all very seriously. But make sure not to confuse always taking yourself seriously with always being SERIOUS. There’s no way you’ll ever expand your comfort zone if you don’t take advantage of the wacky, bold impulses you have to simply be YOU.

Take yourself seriously. Take your life, your goals, your loves, your actions – take them all very seriously. But make sure not to confuse always taking yourself seriously with always being SERIOUS. Click To Tweet

Here are some of my simplest go-to comfort-zone-expanders (which happen to also be mood boosters and boldness-builders!) when my world seems a bit too stoic and blah:

  • Paint your nails a bright color. I’m not talking red. I’m talking electric blue.
  • Sing out loud if you’re running outside. And run so fast that you don’t have time to notice if people turn and stare.
  • Have a dance party in your car.
  • Or the subway.
  • Or while walking down the street. If you live in NYC like me, you’ll blend right in anyway.
  • Learn the lyrics to at least one guilty pleasure song. Don’t forget to practice it every time it comes on: at the gas station, in the grocery store…you know the drill.
  • Then for bonus points, make a game out of singing it while imitating someone completely unexpected. I prefer Carol Channing or Britney Spears. It’s a fun party trick to have in your back pocket (or to put on the “Special Skills” part of your resume, if you’re me)
  • Wear a bold pop of color. Royal Purple leggings? Alright alright alright! Neon green socks? OWN IT BB.
  • Strike up a conversation with a random stranger. Like, an actual conversation. Weather and bonding over complaints don’t count.
  • Make corny jokes casually, just to see who catches on.
  • Learn moves from the 80s/90s and do them very imperfectly, very often (I still cannot do the running man properly, but that doesn’t stop me).
  • Three words: LOUD. BELLY. LAUGHS.
  • Use the weirdest, most offbeat filters on Instagram Stories you can find. Zero cares about how it makes you “look.”
  • Send a long text to a random friend or family member praising them effusively, knowing it’ll make them smile.

And if all else fails, make a trip to your local department store – and DANCE.


WANT yourself:
What are some of your favorite comfort-zone expanders? What is ONE tiny thing you do regularly that helps boost your mood and build boldness? Comment below – I’m always looking to add to the list!

Do’sha Know: Ayurvedic Stress Relief 101

Do’sha Know: Ayurvedic Stress Relief 101

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Zodiac. MBTI. Human Design. Enneagrams. We’re hyper-curious about ourselves, and there are so many ways for us to find out more about what makes us tick…and that’s not even counting all the “What type of artisanal ice cream flavor are you?” quizzes from Buzzfeed.

One of the most ancient – and most RELIABLE – ways to find out more about yourself is by determining your Ayurvedic “dosha.” According to Ayurveda, a dosha is one of three energy types within the body that define who you are. There are three types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We each have all three in us…however, each of us has a unique combination of the three, and are usually dominant in one in particular.

Think this is just another personality test? Well, yes and no. Yes, figuring our your dosha can tell you a lot about who you are (just like that Buzzfeed ice cream quiz)…but it can also tell you about how to manage things like self-doubt, anger, and STRESS (unlike that Buzzfeed ice cream quiz). Ayurveda is about way more than the individual. It’s about living in harmony with the world around you, too.

Sahara Rose is an author, health coach, and Ayurvedic expert who is passionate about bridging ancient Ayurvedic healing and spiritual wisdom with modern western nutritional science/psychology. I love that Sahara blends the two so seamlessly, making it SO easy to incorporate these centuries-old healing practices into our day-to-day life that we’re left wondering why it took so damn long to find out about them.

Stress is high year-round, but during the holidy months it seems to runneth over. Sahara’s take on stress: find your dosha and go from there.

Tally up how many times you select A, B, or C to find your dosha (you may be dominant in two – I’m a Pitta-Kapha, for example), then follow Sahara’s ridiculously simple stress-busting strategies…


Ayurvedic Stress Relief 101

You have a deadline coming up. How do you deal?
a) I’m totally overwhelmed and don’t know how I’ll manage. I want to run away and shut down.
b) I can feel my temperature rising and my heart racing but sit down and get to work — NOW!
c) I don’t let it get to me. I’ll finish when I finish and if it’s a little late, it’s not the end of the world.

Someone just sent you a text calling you out on something. How do you react?
a) I’m so anxious reading through it. My mind is racing to all the things I should reply and am already thinking about what they’re going to say next. I can’t focus and feel like I might hyperventilate.
b) I’m pissed. Who do they think they are to call me out on that? What they said isn’t even true. Bring it.
c) I’m so upset. I immediately want to apologize and make it right again. I hate the feeling of someone being disappointed in me. I feel heavy and sad.

You just got fired. What’s your next move?
a) Omg, I just screwed up my whole life. How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to eat? I will never make it to my goals. What caused this?! Well, I always have wanted to be a creative…
b) Your just fired me?! B**** please. I am the one who does the firing! On to the next one! Screw it, I’m just going to start my own company!
c) Omg I did not see this coming. I’ve been with this company for years. I’m so upset. The boss must hate me. I’m such a failure. How will I find a new job?

How do you deal with emotions?
a) Buy a plane ticket and dip. Or at least spend the weekend by myself in my own world.
b) Head to the gym to torch some calories and get my rage out.
c) Eat my emotions in vegan donuts.

When something bad happens, how do you feel?
a) Cold, weak, faint.
b) Hot, enraged, angry.
c) Heavy, depressed, energetically exhausted.

A — VATAS

Vatas’ minds, like the fall wind, are always racing. Vatas have a lot of air energy, causing their thoughts to constantly move, causing a tornado in their minds called anxiety. Vatas often waste countless hours worrying about outcomes that may never happen (sound familiar?) This is because vatas place their emphasis on the future, rather than the present or past, which can cause vatas to have trouble sleeping at night. Vatas tend to over-analyze, replay responses and make up scenarios on how situations can pan out. For vatas, it is important that they stay present, come back to their breath and ground.

Tips to reduce stress for Vatas…
• Allow yourself to walk barefoot in nature. With the negative ions from the Earth, you ground yourself, rebalance your energy and bring energy into your lower chakras.
• Stay present! Escape your head and enter your body. Be aware of what you see, hear, smell and taste.
•Return to your breath. Anxiety occurs when we forget to breathe. Inhale and exhale to re-center your mind, spirit and body.

B — PITTAS
Pittas, of all three doshas, become stressed most easily. Pittas have a lot of fire energy, causing a lot of pent-up energy within them. When something goes wrong, they can snap and erupt like a volcano. For this reason, it is important for pittas to cool down. Pittas can be too in the present, which causes them to disregard future or past backlash for their actions. This can cause pittas to say things they do not actually mean. It is important pittas regain balance by cooling down to put out that fiery flame within.

Tips to reduce stress for Pittas…
• Spend by the water. Pittas are normally hot in nature, so they do marvelously when they are in cooling environments such as the ocean, a lake or a river. When you take a weekend trip near a body of water you will notice the stress disappear from your body.
• Practice some cooling pranayama breathing techniques. Take some deep breaths shaping your lips into the letter “O.” This is known as sitali. Another cooling breathing technique to practice is sitkari.

Practice sitali by:
1. Sitting comfortably with your eyes closed in a meditative state. For several minutes return to your breath and focus solely on your breathing.
2. Roll your tongue lengthwise and extend it out of your mouth.
Inhale deeply, like you are drinking through a straw, across your tongue and into your mouth. Breathe that breath into your abdomens. This breath will feel cooling on your tongue.
3. Bring your tongue back into your mouth then completely through the nostrils exhale.
4. Practice this for 2-3 minutes, gradually practicing up to 10 minutes.

Practice sitkari by:
1. Sitting comfortably with your eyes closed.
2. Expose your teeth to the air by pressing your lower and upper teeth together and separating your lips as much as you comfortably can.
3. Create a hissing sound when you inhale and breathe through the gaps of your teeth.
4. Close your mouth, then exhale slowly through your nose.
5. Practice for 2-3 minutes, gradually practicing up to 10 minutes.

C — KAPHAS
Kaphas are the least likely of the doshas to become stressed. They’re very hakuna-matata and “slow and steady wins the race.” Since Kaphas have a lot of earthy energy, they are grounding, calm and collected. However, when kaphas do become stressed, they become overwhelmed with sadness. Kaphas bottle up their emotions and do not let anyone know, which can lead to sadness, emotional eating and isolation. Even though kaphas are the dosha that seems the happiest, they’re the most likely to fall into depression and not let anyone else know because they feel like they have to be the rock for everyone else. If you can relate to this, it is crucial for you to raise your spirits and get out of your kapha rut by shaking your body and stimulating your mind.

Tips to reduce stress for Kaphas…
• Sweat! Sweat is medicine for kaphas, especially first thing in the morning. Do something that causes you to sweat and increases your heart rate before you eat breakfast, whether it is a cardio workout, hot yoga, barre, HIIT, boxing or anything in between. A great sweat sesh will instantly have you feeling extremely relieved.
• Attempt something new! Kaphas can become bored and dissatisfied because they are creatures of habits. It is important for kaphas to get out of their comfort zone, whether it is in a new city, state or even country. Perhaps trying out a new dance or art class, being a tourist in your city, or enjoying a weekend trip in a nearby national park camping is just what your soul needs. Life is meant to be lived and experienced in full depth. Break free from your routine so you can return to yourself.
• Eat smart and avoid snacking. Kaphas often release their emotions on food and make their eating decisions based on emotional reasons not from hunger. Try not to snack in between meals, eat only three square meals a day. Snacking throws off your hunger rhythms, affecting your digestion, metabolism, and nutrient absorption. Kaphas, of all three doshas, gain weight most easily. If Kaphas snack throughout the day, they will feel more heavier and sluggish. Kaphas need to make sure they get enough protein with their meals, to avoid wanting to eat two hours later — especially from the candy jar.

 

Stress is a natural part of life. Letting it overcome us is not. Learning about the doshas can help you handle and, most importantly, prevent stress, so you can live a balanced life.

ayurvedic stress relief ayurveda sahara rose

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A version of this post originally appeared here.