We have a workshop coming up called 'Social Freedom' – what is that, and why would it make me a happier person, you may ask?
Have you ever felt you couldn't gel with a new crowd? Maybe you are invited to a party, but when you arrive you realise the dress code is very different from what you chose to wear. It's awkward! What happens next?
Or you bump into someone (yes actually physically run in to them) while shopping, and they take great offense.... do you shout back? Or try to ignore them?
Or worse.... what is your most embarrassing moment? I'm sure we all have one we'd rather forget! Mine involved telling a guy at the office to eject his disk, except I mispronounced a crucial word!
Awkward situations can force us to feel unsteady in ourselves, but what if there was a way to feel adaptable to the situation and steady to respond in 9 out of 10 awkward situations?
What, you say, even if my partner's mother, who I'm trying to impress, reacts in horror when she tastes the curry I tried to cook from scratch which had 10 times too much salt in it?
Developed by Sam Power, and taught by Sam and Nerea, this workshop covers the key aspects to help you realise what's been holding you back, and how to break through. Expanding your comfort zone is crucial to find that new bold you. But why would that be so important?
It's because of the self-feedback loop, and it's great power to help or hinder you. Let's take a look at this important aspect with the help of the experts at Stanford University and the University of California.
In their summary of the current research titled 'The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention,' Georffrey L Cohen and David K. Sherman explain current research of the self-feedback loop – the science behind how when you break through the barriers of internal self-defensiveness, you can grow a flourishing sense of empowerment, authenticity and freedom.
Cohen and Sherman's abstract states:
" Events that threaten self-integrity arouse stress and self-protective defenses that can hamper performance and growth. However, an intervention known as self-affirmation can curb these negative outcomes".1
Like the key in an engine, self-affirmations get the motor of the self-feedback loop turning. Once you allow some self-belief to fuel you, and let yourself know, 'I have the resources to deal with this,' (read more about this here) you start a circular path toward more positive interactions in the world and with yourself. The research shows that these new adaptations can have lasting benefits well beyond the initial moments, and go on to help for days, months, even years.
The key here is about adaptive change. You're out with a group of people, and there's someone you'd like to impress. Then something happens unexpectedly. Maybe you don't see the glass door and try to walk through it! Or there is water on the floor and you slip. Or your ex walks in and makes a scene. How do you respond? Unexpected things will happen to you all the time, but you need the core strength and balance in yourself to adapt to that situation and take yourself forward.
Adaptive change isn't so easy to come by. Many people get stuck in a rut, in an old way that prevents them from using a tricky situation to their best advantage. Cohen and Sherman continue:
" Like a distracting alarm, psychological threat can also consume mental resources that could otherwise be marshaled for better performance and problem solving."
It's very possible that you choose a way of responding that is stuck in old mental habits and insecurities. But there is good news.... if you grasp the nettle, and reinforce a positive view of your ability to respond, you can drive a positive feedback loop. This is why expanding your comfort zone is so important – by putting yourself in a 'risky' position and succeeding at tackling it, you train yourself to know that you have what it takes to handle whatever situations arise.
Take a look at the graphic that Cohen and Sherman use to illustrate this:
Remember that picture at the top of this article? Expanding your comfort zone means you can enter that zone where the magic happens... and it feels FANTASTIC!
So if you feel ready to challenge yourself and find a completely new sense of freedom about being yourself, especially in social situations, get ready because this is going to be super fun and, dare we say, life-changing! Just read our testimonials.
Join us for the Social Freedom workshop.
You can join the Free Taster.
or the full Two-Day Course.
Next article: Social Freedom Part 2: Why some anxiety is really good for you!
- Cohen GL, Sherman DK. 2014 The Psychology and Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention. In Annual Review of Psychology at http://psych.annuyalreviews.org. See: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137
Initial concept: Nerea Carryon
Researched and written by: Heidi Hollis