We all have our own space, our own routines that we are comfortable with- people, stores, our personal routines – that bring us comfort. Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can jolt you out of your comfort zone.
This week I saw a patient who had stepped way out of his comfort zone. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma a few months ago and had planned to have his treatment locally. But after he researched mesothelioma and found an advocate who advised him to head to a mesothelioma treatment center, he ended up on a plane in order to increase his survival chances. He had come by himself, to a strange city, without his family, to see if there was another option for him.
What makes some people more willing to get out of their comfort zone than others? While researching this I came across an interesting article: “The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should),” by Alan Henry. In the article, Henry defines comfort zone as “a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.”
Your comfort zone is your comfort zone. It is neither a good thing or a bad thing. When it is necessary to come out of our comfort zone, though, how do you do it? Leaving it can cause increased anxiety and risk. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes it is a little of both.
Our patient has done well this past week, navigating the system, having tests, communicating it all to his family back home. Was he nervous coming to the mesothelioma center by himself? Yes, he was, but he did it.
Coming to a strange city knowing that you have mesothelioma, a serious cancer, is an extreme example of stepping out of your comfort zone. Sometimes when we step out of our comfort zone we do things that we are not totally comfortable with, but we surprise ourselves and do things we would not otherwise have considered.
Changing things up can lead to personal growth – and may even improve your life!