“I hate this one,” I thought during yogi toe crunch pose.  Even that name sounds miserable!

“You’re probably getting pretty uncomfortable,” my yoga instructor said.

You don’t say.

“Breathe,” she said.  “Just breathe.  In yoga, we learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

As much as I despise these types of yoga poses, I think this is an amazing lesson that can be applied to so many areas of life.

Finding Peace In Discomfort

How do we get comfortable being uncomfortable?  Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

We get comfortable during discomfort by accepting the discomfort instead of resisting it.  We allow the discomfort to be there and make space for it.

The better we get at this, the easier it is to do hard things.

This skill can help with many experiences, such as:

  • Physical pain. Allowing pain to be there and accepting it often reduces our pain.  When we resist pain, we fixate on it and we magnify the pain.
  • Achieving difficult goals. Going after a challenging goal requires you to be experience negative emotions and discomfort.  The better you are at this, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.  Brooke Castillo says “discomfort is the currency of your dreams.”
  • Relieving anxiety. The most effective treatment for anxiety is acceptance.  Allow anxiety to be there and let time pass.  Eventually, the anxiety will fade.
  • Negative emotions. When we’re unwilling to feel negative emotions, we try to resist or avoid them.  This often leads to bad habits like overeating, binge drinking, and overspending, to name a few.  By accepting our negative emotions instead of resisting them, we can allow ourselves to experience negative feelings without indulging in unhealthy habits.

Now that we’ve discussed WHY it’s important to have the skill of getting comfortable being uncomfortable, the next question is HOW do we do it?

Here are a few key tips!

  • Try yoga. To get through a yoga class (especially an intense one), you’ll be forced to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  You’ll probably resist the discomfort at first, but the longer you stick with yoga, the easier it’ll get to accept the discomfort of particularly challenging poses.
  • Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.  Don’t try to resist or escape from the discomfort.  Simply allow it to be there and make space for it.  It will get easier with time.
  • Think helpful thoughts. Remember that you CAN do hard things.  You have before and you will again.  You are so much stronger than you know.  You’re amazing!
  • Pray. Don’t pray that life will get easier; pray that you’ll keep getting stronger.

I hope you found this helpful.

Get out there and practice being uncomfortable!