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. Practice paying more attention to your internal response to conflict, than to the details of the undesirable situation.

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

• 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 surrender”, even though the situation is very unpleasant?
• Surrendering or allowing does not mean you become a door mat where people walk all over you. Doing your best to stay in an open and neutral state, facilitates endless avenues for healing to unfold. It is often far more powerful and far more productive 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 (PNS)

• Allow yourself to experience all there is to experience. Let the good, the bad and the 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 are tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (PSN). The PSN is the opposite of the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.