Many of us walk through life feeling unhappy about what they are doing and where they are heading. It doesn’t have to be that way! Change your life today!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Do you know this empty, painful feeling inside you wondering whether this is it? Whether life has more in store for you? It is this restless state of mind, where you are feeling unhappy and continuously keep wondering what else might be out there for you.
Many of use have experienced this state of mind and in fact, most of us decide to not do anything about this feeling. We just accept that it is there and continue going to jobs that we hate, being in relationships that are bad for us and accepting that this is what our lives look like.
What if I told you, that you DO have the power to reclaim your happiness? That you can stop feeling unhappy within a heartbeat and start changing direction today? In this blog, I will explain HOW!
Fear Keeps You In Your Comfort Zone
Before I explain what is keeping you from creating the wildest and most wonderful life of your dreams, it is important to dive into WHY you are feeling unhappy. There are multiple reasons for your constant feeling of dissatisfaction.
It is all related to this thing called comfort zone. Most of us prefer to stay within our comfort zone. Especially when you are a highly sensitive person, you might prefer to stay in it, because it feels safe and you are in control there. The funny thing is, even when your comfort zone does not feel that comfortable anymore, most of us tend to stay in it anyways. Why? Because we know what is going on there. Outside of our comfort zone lies unknown territory, yet to be discovered. However, most of us keep walking through life, wondering what is out there for us, without trying to actually discover it.
An interesting model to describe this phenomenon, is the learning zone model by Senninger.
The learning zone model explains that there are three zones; the comfort zone, the learning zone and the panic zone. Most of us are used to staying in our comfort zone. This is a calm space where your day-to-day routine finds place and you find peace and calm. In this zone, there are no surprises and you are in complete control of what you are doing. It feels safe.
Outside the comfort zone, lie the learning zone and the panic zone. In the learning zone, also called stretch zone, you expand your existing knowledge and grow. Here, you can learn and create change, challenge yourself and you dare to take risks. When you push yourself into this zone every now and then, you will feel more positive, engaged and more alive than ever before.
However, beware of the panic zone! This zone, which also is called the red zone or the stress zone, is the place where you take risks that go too far beyond your learning. Once you enter this zone, you will feel more anxious because you are not in control of what is going on and you don’t have the proper knowledge (yet) to deal with certain risks and challenges. Staying in this zone for too long can affect your health in negative ways.
How Does This Relate To Feeling Unhappy?
So you might wonder why I am showing you this model. You are feeling unhappy, so how does this relate to the comfort zone? This model helps you to understand why you are feeling dissatisfied at the moment. Most likely, you are on auto-pilot in your comfort zone, not learning many new things. When you fantasize about a different life or the things that you think make you happy, you most likely immediately see yourself at the end point; rich, succesful and incredibly happy. Paradise.
While it is good to dream, it is also important to be realistic. If you would go straight to the end point, your ultimate goal, you would head into the panic zone. That is where your fear steps in. Your fear tells you that you cannot reach your goals and that you will fail. Your fear, however, only looks at what you already know as of now and at the big scary panic zone, your end goal that you would like to head towards. As a result, it tries to push you straight back into your safe comfort zone. So, how can you trick your fear?
Most likely, you don’t have the knowledge (yet) to go straight to the finish line and that is okay. Your fear sees that and that is why it tries to prevent you from going there. However, when you divide your end goal into sub-goals and try to be as specific as possible, chances are likely that you will feel less anxious. The reason? Small goals are easier to achieve than one big goal. When you identify your path from your end goal backwards, you will see numerous sub-goals, of which many lie within your learning zone. These goals are achievable as of now and help you to increase your knowledge.
And good news, this is a continuous process; your comfort zone will stretch further and further. Accordingly, what lies within your panic zone as of now and feels scary, won’t feel that scary once you stretch your knowledge. Amazing, right?
What Are Your Core Values?
Now that you know about your comfort zone and the fact that you most likely are stuck in it, it is important to identify your core values. When you do many activities that are not aligned with your core values as a person, it is logical that you are feeling unhappy. You are doing things that go against your nature. So to identify why you are feeling unhappy, I recommend you to write down your core values and the activities in your life that currently support these core values. Also, you can write down your negative core values, the values that you experience as bad characteristics and situations. Again, write down which activities in your life you currently are doing that contain one or more of your negative core values.
Some of my positive core values are growth, kindness and acceptance. Some of my negative core values are that I dislike dishonesty, unfairness and conflict.
In the past, I didn’t have jobs that supported the positive aspects of my core values. However, they contained many of my negative core values. There were many unfair situations and often also conflicts. As a result, I started feeling unhappy very quickly. Because I did things that were against my values, it caused great discomfort in me. I had all financial resources that I needed, but the ethics of what I was doing weren’t right. My comfort zone didn’t feel that comfortable anymore. So I made a change in my career, spent half a year to make the transition towards becoming an entrepreneur and started living according to my positive core values.
So ask yourself?
What are my positive and negative core values and how do they currently come back in what I do every day?
Identify Your Big End Goal
Now that you are aware of your comfort zone and what holds you there, as well as your values, it is important to identify your end goal. Time to dream! Grab a pen and paper and answer this question:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years from now?
Most likely, your fear will immediately step in and try to answer this one for you. Silence your fear for just a moment and listen to what your intuition tries to tell you. Nothing that you write down on this paper, is too big. Dare to dream big. This paper will be of big importance for your future. So just let your mind flow and listen what your heart and intuition are trying to tell you.
Once you have identified your big end goal, it is time to put thoughts into a plan. Look at your big end goal and envision, which steps you took prior to reaching that goal. Think all the way back to the present and then, start with learning more about step one in your action plan. From this point on, you will start to expand your comfort zone by continuosly going into the learning zone and back to retreat. Eventually, this method will help you to change the direction of your life. Start with it today and take small babysteps to realize your biggest dream! You can do it! With this methods, you might stop feeling unhappy within no time!