5 Introvert-Friendly Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

An introvert writes down plans on a large calendar

You don’t have to constantly push yourself to meet new people or talk to strangers to get out of your comfort zone.

“Getting out of your comfort zone is the best thing for personal growth.” 

You’ve probably heard some form of that quote before. The comfort zone is a conceptual area where you feel safe and you’re in control. Beyond that lies the growth zone, and if you push it too far, the panic zone. Research has shown that keeping your activities in the growth zone can be helpful — it can improve your confidence, allow you to experience life fully, and help you to learn. 

However, when searching for tips on how to get out of your comfort zone, the results are often disheartening — especially for introverts. 

Emphasis is often placed on meeting new people or talking to strangers. This certainly works for extroverts, but it can be draining for us introverts — not to mention intimidating — which doesn’t allow us to reap the full benefits and actually grow.

Below, you’ll find five ways to get out of your comfort zone and into the growth zone, without having to do a lot of socializing. This self-improvement journey can be personal, and you might be inspired to pursue something more after reading this article. That is encouraged, so go for it!

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5 Introvert-Friendly Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

1. Change up your routine (and it’s okay to start small).

I know — we introverts love our routines and aren’t fans of change. But… changing up your routines and rituals is a relatively easy step and pushes your brain to think and become more aware. This can increase concentration and allow you to notice more things during your usual day. 

For example, try taking a slightly different route to work this week. Often we repeat something over and over again, and our brain switches to autopilot. Research shows that using  your spatial navigation brain area is good for you, and you’ll arrive more alert and ready for the day.

If you work remotely or from home, another routine you can change up is your morning and/or evening routine. Try a five-minute yoga or meditation session before brushing your teeth, or try drinking a full glass of water when you wake up. Though these are healthy habits, any change will kickstart your brain, and you might find that you enjoy your routine more than you did before.

2. Try a new hobby or skill, either on your own or with a friend.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, like the clarinet, or really want to try your luck at chess. By venturing into a new environment — and learning new movements or thinking patterns — you help the neurons in your brain make new connections. You’ll also gain positive feelings from doing something you enjoy, and might even find you have a talent for something you’d never thought of before!

And don’t worry — the new skills or hobbies don’t need to involve other people. There are countless things you can learn and do by yourself or with a small group. Doing something alone can have many mental benefits, as well, and can help you get into “the zone” or a “flow,” which improves concentration and productivity. Plus, there are many online courses you can take, and master a skill from the comfort of your own introvert-friendly home.

3. Take a cold shower, which can help with circulation and decrease anxiety.

I know: Taking a cold shower is easier said than done. Unless it’s the middle of summer, it’s easy to make excuses and not want to experience the temporary discomfort of cold water. However, even making your shower cold for the last 15-30 seconds has many health benefits. Also, on a deeper level, you’re training your discipline and willpower. 

Yes, this is the core concept of the comfort vs. growth zone idea. By experiencing temporary discomfort, you train your body and mind to be okay with it and to be more resilient. When you master cold showers, you not only have the satisfaction of persevering at something difficult, but you’ll gain the added confidence to pursue harder tasks, too. You’ll also learn how doing something — by taking small steps at a time — builds sustainable habits, without it feeling difficult or time-consuming!

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4. Explore different genres — of books, music, you name it.

This is another tip that seems easier said than done. Often, music, films, and books serve as a comfortable place, as we know what to expect. By venturing into the unknown, you risk not liking what you see or hear. On the other hand, by keeping to the entertainment you are familiar with, you also miss out on a potential new favorite.

The next time you put on a music playlist or sit down to watch a movie, try a completely different genre. You can either set your music on shuffle, blindly pick a book off the shelf, or look into the “People also read/watched” sections. There, you’ll find similar styles, whereas by just picking something, you’ll have a more random and varying selection available. Either way, listening to, or seeing, new things will stimulate the brain to pay more attention, allowing you to enjoy and remember the experience better.

5. Set personal goals, like meeting one new person a day… or week… or month.

This is a very broad topic. Understandably so, as it is so individual to your life and what you want to achieve. Start by examining what feels comfortable and uncomfortable for you. Then look at what you would like to achieve. 

This doesn’t have to be the conventional goal of “getting out there” or “meeting at least one new person per day” (although it certainly can be). Perhaps you’d like for your friends and/or family to respect your boundaries when you feel too drained to go out partying or to a restaurant. Or you’d like to make a plan on how to fit any of the above-mentioned tips into your daily life. 

By making it clear to yourself what gets you in the growth zone, you can still experience all the amazing benefits of growing and improving without feeling the need to check off specific (and often extrovert-oriented) goals. Also, by becoming aware of what you truly want, you’ll feel more connected and motivated to complete the goal, the “introvert way,” and more likely to end up doing just that!

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