I am not a yogi by any means of the word, and one of my favorite things about this blog is my average Janeness… but I have dabbled in Yoga on several occasions. My favorite takeaway from my minimal experience with yoga, was that the practice challenges you to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable”.
Whether or not you have given yoga a go, I am sure you have seen pictures of some mind blowing positions and it shouldn’t come as a shock that those positions can be quite uncomfortable. One thing you may not know from the pictures, is that once in position, you can be challenged to stay there for quite some time. In that time, you focus on your breath and you sit comfortably with the discomfort.
This lesson is incredibly valuable in our daily lives! How often do we find ourselves experiencing any slight discomfort and we do anything we can to self-medicate (drinking, smoking, eating) or escape (avoid the situation altogether). Unfortunately, when we run away from discomfort, we miss out on incredible experiences or opportunities to grow and thrive!
Life gets uncomfortable, no doubt about that. If we run from this discomfort, we become weak and fragile. In turn, we do not grow. I want to encourage you to embrace discomfort. Below are 3 tips for being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Deep breathing exercises are crazy powerful when it comes to uncomfortable moments. It ties into the invaluable concept of mind over matter.
You know how some people are afraid of the dentist? Well, I am their leader. As a kid I had 4 teeth pulled and 12 cavities, and I quickly decided that going to the dentist was just cruel and unusual punishment. As I got older, I decided to go to the dentist with this new mind set of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. I now know I can use this opportunity to grow stronger.
As I sit down in the chair and procedures begin, I immediately begin my deep breathing practice. I focus solely on my breaths, in… and out… in… and out. When I am focused, truly focused, on my breath, there is no head space for thoughts of pain or discomfort.
Of course once I am in my groove, they hit a sore spot and I am removed from my focus and the pain bursts into my head space, uninvited of course. It’s okay for distractions to pull you out of your breathing meditation. It’s bound to happen. Let it happen, let it pass, and go back to breathing.
Before you know it, the uncomfortable moment has passed and you, my friend, are stronger for it! How awesome is that?
SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
I touched briefly on this when I was discussing how I approach going to the dentist, but part of the process is definitely shifting your mindset altogether. If you look at a challenging, uncomfortable moment as scary and unpleasant, with no benefit, of course you will run for the hills, thinking , “nah, I’m good”.
If instead you look at the uncomfortable moment as a precious opportunity to become more awesome, you’re going to welcome it. Who doesn’t want to be a more awesome human being? I mean, being able to sit in discomfort is practically a super power.
Shifting your mindset from “nah, I’m good” to “hell yea, bring it on”… is absolutely going to enhance your abilities to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Every time you endure the struggle, and push yourself through the uncomfortable moments, you have to give yourself a high five! You deserve it. Celebrate not only your accomplishment, but your growth! Your ability to kick ass just went up a level!
When we celebrate our hard work, we are positively reinforcing ourselves. Who doesn’t like to party… especially when that party is being held in your honor!
If we throw ourselves a mini party when we challenge ourselves to ensure difficult circumstances, we will want to continue on this path, because we know there are more parties along the way! Now of course when I say party, I don’t mean host a rave with a guest list of 200, every time you force yourself to talk to a stranger or go to the dentist. Although, wouldn’t that be fun?
When you throw yourselves these “parties”, it can simply be five minutes reflecting on the experience and telling yourself you’re awesome! That will feel good, I promise. You will want it again. Or, if it’s something really tough for you, treat yourself to a glass of wine, or a pizza, or a massage. Whatever you can make happen and whatever reinforces you best!
I want you to take these tools and implant them in your brain. The next time you find yourself avoiding an uncomfortable situation, I want you to dive in, instead of running. Use these tools and afterwards, see how you feel. I am certain you will see growth, and you will feel empowered! Sometimes after I leave the dentist, I think dang, I could do anything! I hope you get that feeling to.
Now go do good things!