Dealing With Discomfort
This week, I have a challenge regarding discomfort. But first, a bit on the subject.
Discomfort is prevalent in all aspects of life, in varying amounts. Whether the intense pain of breaking a bone or the mild annoyance of a mosquito bite, we all face unpleasant things over the course of life. But what if we could somehow learn to deal with the unpleasantness, and learn to embrace it instead of running away from it? If you improved your ability to handle mild distress, wouldn't life be more enjoyable?
This skill is crucial for creating new habits such as writing or exercising on a daily basis. While these activities are definitely rewarding, oftentimes they require going through some discomfort to complete the work. In today's day and age, we can run from this unpleasantness to easier tasks like checking social media, checking email, or watching tv. But, the things that truly matter in our life, and have the power to positively impact our lives, or the lives of those around us are rarely comfortable. Therefore, it is important to learn how to work through discomfort.
So, back to the challenge. In order to learn how to deal with discomfort, you don't need to run an ultramarathon or write a best selling novel. Instead, we can use simple tasks to train the skill, and then apply it to things that matter. The task I created is to brush your teeth every day with your non-dominant hand (left hand if you're right-handed, right hand if you're left handed). Starting next Thursday, June 1 I will be brushing my teeth every day for a month with my left hand, and I challenge you to do the same. Although brushing your teeth with a different hand may seem trivial, it is a small task that most people already do twice a day. Therefore, you don't need to carve out any extra time in your daily routine, just switch hands and you're ready to go.
Even if you don't want to go an entire month, even going for a few days allows plenty of opportunity to watch the urge to run from discomfort arise, acknowledge it, and then continue to do the activity that makes you uncomfortable. And if brushing your teeth isn't a challenge you'd like to do, I encourage you to find other ways to practice dealing with discomfort. Talk to a new person at work or school, tell someone how you really feel about them, or even step out the door and go for a short run.
Even though the discomfort we face in our daily lives varies from barely noticeable to the extreme, the basic method of dealing with it remains the same.
Regardless of how you practice dealing with discomfort, I guarantee you will be better off for it. I wish you the best of luck.
Photo is of the mountains in Death Valley, from a trip I took through the Western US at the end of Summer 2015. Feel free to write in the comments below if you'll be doing the challenge, and how it's been going for you!