How can I get more discomfort in my life?
This is the question I wrote about more than a month back, and a question that I’ve been asking myself more and more each day. It’s become my measure of whether I’ve ‘owned’ my anxiety, or whether it has owned me.
It’s been a busy month because I’ve been racing to complete my Forest School training and I haven’t gotten around to some of the bigger trials – I sadly haven’t been invited onto the TED stage just yet. Nor have I had the will or opportunity to skydive out of a plane.
I have, however, found numerous small but effective ways to put myself into uncomfortable situations so that I might learn to cope and even enjoy myself.
Here’s what I have done:
- I’ve been striving to not only park in different places, but to reverse… something which I’d just avoided for years thinking that I was awful at it and destined to crash. Turns out, I’m not that bad!
- I’ve been driving different routes home which has kept things interesting.
- I’ve made myself go to Jiu Jitsu classes, even when I know that there might not be any of my mates there, or other girls to roll with. I’ve had some awesome sessions rolling with the guys.
- I’ve had to film myself sawing and chopping and carving etc. for my Forest School qualification, including watching this back and editing. At first, it was painful – beyond cringe. But once I got over my hips/voice/teeth bla bla, I started to watch myself in a more objective way, I found it quite confidence-inspiring. Because really, the reality isn’t half as bad as my negative self-talk would have me think.
- I’ve done a good few ‘ice cube’ meditations, letting an ice cube melt on my hand completely, noticing the sensations rather than acting on the urge to put it down because it’s painful.
- I had an extremely painful sports massage (dodgy hip) and used the same principles used in the ice cube meditation, noticing sensations rather the my thoughts i.e. “Yowwww!!!!” It was still painful, but it definitely helped.
- I got a side-fringe (bangs!)
- I’ve been to a number of social engagements – parties and gatherings that a decade ago I would have just avoided altogether.
- When I’ve spotted people I know out of about, I’ve said hello and gone in for a, ‘stop and chat.’ These kind of encounters have always been a cause of panic for me and it’s my go-to reaction just to look elsewhere and pretend that I haven’t seen whoever it is, so actually initiating these conversations is a big step forwards.
Of course, some things have been easier than others. But the point is that I’ve done them. I’ve faced the discomfort.
And you know? I feel pretty great.
I feel stronger, bolder, more capable and more excited!
Each time I face discomfort, I know that I’m gradually expanding my comfort zone, along with my own thoughts and beliefs of what I’m capable of.
Let’s see what the next month will bring.