Seeking Discomfort: Action Planning

How can I get more discomfort in my life? 

That was the question, posed by me, in my last blog. And I was thinking about what this would actually look like for me, and others, once put into practice.

How do we go about creating an action plan based around seeking more discomfort (and all the fabulous things that go with it) in our lives?

A good place to start here, is by asking yourself what makes you uncomfortable.

For me, this is things like: 
– meeting new people
– attention
– public speaking
– saying what i really think
– trying new things, going to new places, breaking the norm in habits/routines
– saying nice things about myself
– heights, especially where spiral staircases or stairs without railings are involved

I could go on and on…. but this will do for now.

How might I include more of these uncomfortable situations in my life, therefore widening my comfort zone so that these things seem less scary – or at least so the fear surrounding them doesn’t stop me from doing them? 

Yep – you’ve guessed it – I need to do more of them!

This might mean: 
– Parking in a different space when I go to the supermarket
– Asking my workout buddy to help me practise high jumps (don’t ask me why, but I have a really weird thing about jumping!)
– Challenge myself to find out one new thing about another person each day.
– Write down one thing that I would be afraid to say to someone, practise saying it and then actually say it.
– Volunteer for a low-key speaking event.
– Visit an arena and practise walking up and down the stairs, using my breath to help.

In some cases, like tackling fear of heights, we’re thinking about things that require a one-off trip. In others, as with the challenge to speak to new people each day, there are things that are free and easy – things that I could do every single day to build up a tolerance to discomfort. Where discomfort is particularly strong and habits are hard-wired, an approach of gradual exposure might be best. For example, if I set myself a challenge to start telling everyone exactly what I think, I’m unlikely to do it. But if I ask myself to do this in a small, structured way, and build up from there, then it’s more likely to happen.

We all have different areas of discomfort, based on whatever our personalities/pasts/fears/emotional scars dictate.

All that really matters though, is that you’re committed to tackling discomfort, rather than running from it.

This kind of commitment transfers between our fears naturally. Once you see that parking in a new space, or driving a new route home from work, can actually be exciting rather than stressful, you might also see that speaking to new people, or in front of them, also holds some excitement amongst the nerves.

Seeking discomfort isn’t easy, but for me, it’s the difference between living and feeling alive.

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