3 Practices to get you Comfortable with being Uncomfortable
There are few people that find uncomfortable situations stimulating. Whilst most people would rather be anywhere else than in that state, there is a lot to learn about how to use these experiences to learn more about yourself and see them as opportunities to evolve. Let’s look at some common examples of where seek quick ways to resolve discomfort.
|Uncomfortable Situation||Solutions/Course of Action|
|It’s cold||Put on more clothing|
|It’s hot||Find an cooler space, fan, shade, aircon|
|It’s raining||Stay undercover, get a raincoat or umbrella|
|Work chair causing pain||Ask the boss for a new one|
|Insomnia||Buy a new mattress|
|Hunger||Find the closest thing to eat|
|Loneliness||Get on social media or text|
|Illness||Take a pill from the GP|
We have adapted to find ways to dissolve problems quickly. Whilst we can appreciate modern technology, science and medicine moves us forward intellectually, we have failed to test ourselves on other levels. When it comes to sitting with the feeling of being uncomfortable, whether it be any state of emotion that isn’t pleasant, this is an opportunity to raise our consciousness that we must seize and rise to in order to make us better humans. Challenging your comfort zone brings enlightenment and true wealth. These are the things that start to happen when you allow yourself to sit for a moment in the uncomforting zone:
- You learn how to manage fear. Fear is a lack of doing. By consistently trying and practicing, the enormity of the initial fear starts to reduce over time. The same could be said for pain. Think of a situation that brought you immense physical or emotional pain. Over time (6-8 weeks) physical pain starts to begin to heal, but emotional pain can stay with us for years all the while inflicting more pain to ourselves than any physical pain could. The reason why is because we choose to push the real cause of the pain aside and ‘get on with life’. By ignoring it, it’s easier but it doesn’t resolve and in fact may start to manifest in other areas of your life without you realising. And so the cycle repeats itself until you learn that whatever it was happened FOR you, not TO you, we stop being the victim and rise to a higher level of consciousness by accepting there was a greater good in the experience. If you just chose to sit with the pain, recognise it and separate yourself from it as merely a thought, then the intensity starts to reduce and in time you can manage it with much more control (these people go on to help others deal with the same hurtful experiences).
- You recognise that progress is small, but as significant as the goal. I recently tried slack lining for the first time. Thinking my athletic abilities would make this a breeze; I was surprised when in fact it was damn hard and I wasn’t even that far off the ground! So surely circus performers must have all at one point started in the same place I did, and yet they can take that line a minimum of 6m above the ground and walk with an audience in awe. If I were to get up there, fear would control my mindset and I simply would not try it. However if I practice daily at height much more comfortable yet still challenging, it helps control that fear and build more confidence to try a higher line. Maybe one day I’ll join the circus 🙂
- You get to kick your own butt. Getting uncomfortable allows you to demonstrate by example your initiative to kick your own butt instead of waiting for someone else to do it. By that point it’s usually too late in life. Self-aware people know when it’s time to shake things up and as a result increase their ability and skill set.
- You break up the routine.Life is often a series of routines followed by other routines. Ultimately you will have to decide just how much predictability you want to have in your life. Getting uncomfortable allows you to break up the routine and challenges you to work through new situations.
- You find perspective in life. I knew that learning how to slack line could perhaps get me into the circus but not necessarily make me a better person, neither would bodybuilding for that matter, but through the process of getting uncomfortable it provided a fresh perspective on life as I ventured down uncharted territory.
- You focus your efforts.Despite everything else that is going on around you, getting uncomfortable with a certain task helps you focus your effort. You may rush through the task at first but over time you will be able to relax and focus your efforts with greater depth and deserved time.
- Life is not that bad – A humbling practice. The more you can practice being comfortable with being uncomfortable the greater your ability to leverage it in the future as you work towards living a life of intention and working with purpose. I can guarantee you that life will throw uncomfortable situations at you more than once, it’s up to you how you choose to handle them. Just think, what’s the worst that can happen?….. AND THEN WHAT? You recover, you move forward but if you allow yourself to change as a person, you build resilience without resentment and you start to lead a life that others envy.
To help you on your journey of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, try these 3 simply daily practices:
- Have a cold shower every morning – Just about everyone I speak to thinks this is completely absurd (especially in Winter) which tells me it’s the perfect way to challenge your comfort zone. Just turn the tap to cold and do it. It will completely change the start to your day.
- Perform a squat hold for 5 minutes every day – Get out of your work chair, car seat and couch and get into an passive/deep squat hold for 5min. If you can’t perform 5min straight then break it down into 3-4 accumulative sets over the day. Not only does it feel uncomfortable, it will actually have hip mobility advantages which will translate to physical improvement in other areas
- Get outdoors and immerse yourself in nature – I don’t mean throwing yourself into the wilderness ‘Bare Grills’ style or moving off grid nomad, although this could be a very good practice at appreciating modern conveniences! Start by finding a park, natural habitat or nature reserve and just sit and observe what you notice. An unexpected thing might happen; you just might bounce off the abundance of energy to be found in environments like this. At the very least I promise that you’ll experience gratitude for your life and the Earth’s beauty, but I hope you walk away invigorated too.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you practice a few of these in the near future.
Perform Three Sixty Co – Founder