Embracing Discomfort As Tool For Shifting Pain  

Reflection time: 10 min 2 X/day 

 1. Acknowledge your discomfort (emotional or physical)

  • “Embracing” emotional and physical discomfort does not mean pretending that you actually feel great when you don’t. It means pausing for a moment to actually feel what is going on in your body. We often spend our days running from or avoiding discomfort at all cost. Dare to feel it. This is extremely important before we move forward.  

2. Acknowledge what has and has not worked in the past: 

  • Acknowledge what has and has not helped shift your suffering in the past. Has avoidance techniques, anger or resistance helped? Catching ourselves when we fall back into these patterns of resistance, helps us develop new, more helpful pathways in the brain that can actually facilitate a shift in suffering. 

3. Check in with how you are Responding to the discomfort 

  • Practice paying more attention to your internal response to conflict, than to the details of the undesirable situation.
  • On a scale of 0-10, how are you reacting to the issue? Are you upset and tense, or are you doing your best to find a place of “calm acceptance”, even though the situation is very unpleasant?
  • Acceptance does not mean you become passive or inactive.  Staying in a grounded and neutral state is one of the most powerful things you can do and creates far more productive outcomes than what opposition can offer. 

4. Strengthen the Heart not the Head 

  • The heart (our feeling center) is far more accurate and far more wise than the mind. Ask yourself: “Is there any place deep within that can attempt to open up to this experience and embrace this turmoil?”…. The mind cannot do this, but the heart can.
  • This may sound absurd when faced with enormous pain, but I want you to experiment and do it anyway. This is rarely, if ever, done easily! Practicing this alone, regardless of the outcome, is an enormous success. 

5. Strengthen the Parasympathetic Nervous System (The relaxation response!)

  • Allow yourself to experience all there is to experience. Let good, bad and even painful feelings move through you. The more you do this, the more you move your body into a healing state. A healing state is what happens when you are tapping into the relaxation pathways of your parasympathetic nervous system (PSN).