Rockliffe Hall’s Wellbeing Manager, Peter Bell talks about improving your mental wellbeing by continuing to learn.

Research shows that learning new skills can help improve our mental wellbeing significantly. With regard to learning a new skill, a lot of us are apprehensive or decline to participate as we feel this takes us out of our 'comfort zone'.

A 'comfort zone' is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and perceive they are in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. It is an area which is non-threatened by any challenges which may test a person’s ability to perform.

Psychologists claim that the comfort zone can be a dangerous place to inhabit as there is not much incentive for people to reach new heights of performance and in this zone, people go about routines devoid of risk, which can cause their progress to plateau. Psychologists also state that in order for us to develop and find a sense of self purpose, which will help us live dreams and realise aspirations, we need to strive to leave our comfort zone and move into our 'growth zone'.

On our journey to reach the growth zone, we must move into the 'fear zone', in which we can be affected by others negative opinions, find excuses, and lack self-confidence. It takes courage to move from the comfort zone to the fear zone in which you need to be self-aware and have a clear goal on what you want to achieve.

Entering the 'learning zone', you are actually extending the comfort zone, in which you are dealing with challenges and problems resourcefully and acquiring new skills. Once you have created a new comfort zone, this expands a persons ability to reach even greater heights.

Once you enter the 'growth zone', this is where you find purpose, live dreams, realise aspirations, feel happy, content, and set goals. This further enhances the feeling of reaching your self-fulfillment needs.

Growing your skillset can foster creativity and refresh your self-confidence, as well as increase employability. Skills such as public speaking, negotiation, and leadership can represent a new challenge for many people. Investing in them can build resilience, personal satisfaction, and open up more opportunities than ever.

While exploring alternative perspectives can be uncomfortable, it enables growth and insight by challenging entrenched beliefs.

This might take several forms, such as reading varied book genres, diversifying who you talk to, and visiting new places. It’s easy to get stuck in our ways, but this can lead to complacency – a hallmark of being in the comfort zone.

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