While it may not feel like it in the moment, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development. Sure, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your performance, creativity and learning in the long run.
Routines may make you feel at ease and in control, but what a constant routine really does is dull your sensitivities. Think about the times in your life when you’ve driven the same route repeatedly: after a certain number of trips, you start tuning out most of it. Have you ever had a trip to the office where you barely remember what happened after you got in the car?
If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis.
But when you go out of your way to experience new things, or when you let new things happen to you, your body creates brand new neural pathways that fuel your creative spark and enhance your memory.
In one study, researchers tested the memory of participants by showing them images which were rated as novel, familiar, and very familiar. The best results came when people were shown a novel image, followed by a familiar one. So, while repetition helps with memory, mixing in new information is important as well.
That’s why being uncomfortable is something you should embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower; that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things.
Few people actually enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable. The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so you can grow and benefit from that discomfort.