Finding comfort in discomfort

Finding comfort in discomfort

We have become creatures of comfort. We wear shoes to feel more comfortable walking and padded shoes to feel more comfort when running. Central heating, air conditioning, even heated steering wheels not to mention the actual cars for a quicker and easier journey. It’s about time we searched for comfort in discomfort.

As soon as we feel any discomfort – hunger, heat, anxiety or boredom – the modern world is equipped with quick fixes. Often, they can lead to longer-term vices. Picking up your phone to ease the boredom or for a quick dopamine hit, grabbing a muffin on your way home after a hectic day or drinking alcohol on a Tuesday just because your boss is giving you hell.

Growth is uncomfortable. Doing new things is uncomfortable. We stay in comfort zones because they are safe. If we are unsafe and in unchartered territory, our evolutionary response is to flee or hide to protect ourselves.

Many of us find the cold uncomfortable, we wrap up warm and tell the kids to ‘grab their big coats’. We book flights and leave the damp and cool of the UK in search of warmth to relax in hotter climates.

When we overcome discomfort in one area of our lives, it feeds into another. This is resilience building. When you realise what you’re capable of, you strive for more – it’s no complicated science.

Candice Galek cited on that the very next day after a Wim Hof breathwork class and ice plunge ‘I tackled difficult tasks that I had been putting off for nearly a YEAR. You read that right, a whole year. My nervous system felt so at peace that I was able to face my fears and get some stuff done! I was not expecting this to happen, but I am very happy that it did.’ The science points to exposure to the cold can make you happier too!

How to embrace discomfort:

  1. Do hard things! This will be different for everyone, but try making a list of 5 things that you find hard and tackle the list as best as you can each month. 
  1. Get comfortable being different. Take some time to get used to standing out from the crowd. It’s ok not to fit in, how boring would life be if we were all the same?
  1. Take risks and challenge yourself with things that feel uncomfortable.The experience of doing something you deem ‘risky’ helps build confidence and key skills to deal with problems that may arise in the future. 
  1. Try new things like food, a new commute to the office or a different activity on the weekend. Go with the flow, try something new on the menu and broaden your horizons! You never know, you might just discover an activity you love.
  1. Get comfortable with discomfort in social settings.Being more social will, over time, help you become a better conversationalist, learn about different personalities and even make new friends. 

Life is uncomfortable, we feel fear, anxiety, stress and sadness. Imagine being able to feel all those things less acutely, or being able to look objectively at how you feel. In life, we choose our discomforts. Whether that’s physical or mental. Enjoy finding comfort in discomfort.