Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable

I agreed to a 7 day challenge from my business coach. I agreed to spend one minute every day in a cold shower to experience discomfort.

I did not agree willingly at first. I don’t like cold water. I grew up in northern Massachusetts not far from the Atlantic ocean beaches. That is “cold” water. I spent summers at camps where lakes were fed by mountain waters. This is even “colder” water. I did not have a choice of going into the waters if I wanted to “fit in” with my friends. Once I grew up and understood I had a choice, my desire to jump into the ocean and lakes were balanced by the need to get relief from the summer heat. I avoid the discomfort. Today I can heat the backyard spa and get relief and avoid the discomfort of cold water.

Our primitive brain tells us to avoid pain and discomfort. It wants to avoid it at all cost for survival. But humans have evolved and invented ways to survive. Tell that to our primitive brain! We still don’t like discomfort.

The point of the challenge it to experience discomfort and not run from it. Honestly, I could only handle 20 seconds and had to turn the water on warm. But an astonishing thing happened. Once I got over the shock I was a little invigorated. Again I tried and handle no more than 20 seconds. Again I experienced the discomfort and invigoration. I ended the shower with a 20 second cold shock.

The point of the challenge is to experience discomfort mindfully and let the primitive brain be in discomfort. It will pass. There are times that we work on a task that causes discomfort (non-physical discomfort) and we avoid it at all cost. We buffer with all sorts of actions and inaction. We work on something different, we eat, drink, spend hours on social media, etc.. For me it results in procrastination, especially when I have to have a difficult conversation. I will fortune tell and magnify the situation. My anxiety builds and the discomfort feels paralyzing. But it never is…..often the results are “that was easier than I thought”. Then I move on…..but only after adding anxiety to my discomfort (two for one and not a good thing.

So in an effort to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and reducing anxiety I am trying the cold shower for the next 6 days and being mindful with my discomfort whenever I can. I plan to work at this daily because I still don’t like the cold.

Hartfelt wishes your discomfort becomes more tolerable