Looking For the Comfort Zone or the Danger Zone?
Do you like to play it safe or do you crave action and excitement? Are you one of those people who can’t wait for the next presidential debate? Or are you one that prefers to turn off the television set and pick lint out from between your toes instead? Regardless of whether you gravitate toward the comfort zone or the danger zone, leaning too far in either direction can negatively impact your health.
Safety & Risks Found in the Comfort Zone
When our children are small, most of us tend to be very protective of them. We want to make sure that they are safe, well cared for and that all their needs are met. Therefore, we do our best to keep them fed, clean, and feeling loved. We only leave them with others that we trust to keep them safe and do all these things too. As adults, some people continue to live in the comfort zone. Don’t be too quick to judge that choice. There are definitely advantages of living a low-risk lifestyle. But, it’s not all a bed of roses. Let’s look at three of each the advantages and disadvantages together now.
Advantages of the Comfort Zone
- You Won’t Lose the Farm Gambling.
Safe people don’t tend to take unnecessary risks or get involved with anything that is not a sure bet. One benefit of this is that you’re not as likely to go broke on the lottery, horse racing, or sporting bets. Your bank account may not be overflowing, but your significant other won’t have to worry about unexpected withdraws either.
- Fewer Trips to the Emergency Room.
People seeking safety, won’t be the ones found in line for the Sling Shot Bungee Jump on the boardwalk next summer. They won’t ride bikes without proper helmet gear. They won’t let their children walk on railroad tracks or talks walks where there might be poison ivy. Hence, you’ll make fewer trips to the doctor’s office and emergency room!
- Reduced Food Poisoning Risk.
Safety conscious folks won’t be the ones eating salads made with mayonnaise that have been out of the fridge too long. They won’t be the ones eating strange foods at buffet lines. They also won’t be ordering items from the menu that they can’t pronounce or don’t know the ingredients. Taking such precautions, may keep your gastrointestinal health in better shape!
Disadvantages of Playing it Too Safe
- Risk of Phobias.
When you are busy trying to avoid germs, heights, and otherwise risky situations. You may end up developing or being perceived as having various phobias. I have worked with a few germ-phobic healthcare workers over the years and a few obsessive hand-washers too. There is nothing wrong with being cautious about avoiding germs, but any type of obsession can start to rule your life.
- Can be Labeled Boring.
If you say NO too often, people will stop asking you to spend time with them. While it may be best to avoid some things in life, we don’t to be labeled as no fun and intentionally left out of great experiences in life.
- Risk Loneliness & Depression.
If you spend too much time playing it safe, you may find yourself avoiding people and spending a large amount of your time alone. We’re designed to interact with others and even profound introverts need to spend some time with other human beings. Being alone and the feelings that come with that can lead to depression and other mental health concerns.
Excitement & Drawbacks Discovered in the Danger Zone
Advantages of the Danger Zone
- Reach Your Potential.
You will never find out what you can do if you never try. Have you ever seen the circus performers who ride bikes on high wires? They are truly amazing. In all honesty, I will know if I can do that, because I’m not willing to try. At least not without guaranteed net safety! You can only find and reach your potential if you’re willing to take risks in life.
- More Failures Mean More Success.
Many great inventions came only after hundreds of failures. Sure, you might try and fail. But, you might also try and succeed! How awesome it is to try, succeed, and break thru existing barriers!
- Exhilarating Moment Experiences.
I have spent many years of my nursing career working in critical care environments. Critical care employees spend most of their time trying to prevent or tackling the next crisis. I can tell you, there is nothing quite as exciting as saving someone’s life or bringing someone back to life once their heart or breathing has stopped. The reward makes the craziness worth it!
Disadvantages of Living on the Edge
- The Physical Effects of Stress.
Risky lifestyle choices can lead to elevated heart rate and blood pressure and a constant feeling of stress. Small bursts of excitement and high energy are beneficial but too many, too often, can wreak havoc on your body.
- Negative Family Consequences.
If mom or dad is always busy chasing the next ambulance, police car, or fire truck, the rest of the family may pay the price. Having a tea party with your little one, may not compare to rescuing someone from a burning building. The family can sometimes sense that they don’t measure up on the excitement meter and relationship issues can result.
- Overlooking the Little Things.
It’s easy to get so focused on the big important things that we miss the wonderful but smaller things in life. You might miss the opportunity to hold the hand of a frightened child because you focused on the accident scene and who has bigger problems to deal with. We can’t always be the hero, sometimes our job is to be the hand holder,and the best hand holder we can possibly be.
It’s Time to Get Out of Your Favorite Zone
The blessings are in the balance. We all have preferences regarding how much risk we are willing and interested in taking. Our uniqueness makes us special and I would never suggest you try to alter who you are. But, you may want to consider whether your preferences are causing you to get too far out of balance. Are the disadvantages of your style choice causing troubles that you need to deal with? Never be afraid to get out of your favorite zone and be a little more cautious or a little more dangerous than you normally prefer! You may be surprised at how good getting out of your box can feel.
- Do you tend to choose comfort or excitement?
- Could any of your current health problems be related to your risk level choices?
- Is there anyone you know that is out of balance in this area? If so, be sure to send them a link!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.