How could you change your relationship with discomfort?

Sitting with the pain

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When we experience pain, a few things happen inside of our bodies.

From a biological standpoint, we touch a hot stove, a nerve ending senses the stimulus, it sends the signal to the central nervous system, the pain center in the brain receives the message and then we yell a curse word as loud as we can.

But from an intellectual standpoint, something else happens. Once the pain registers, we also start searching for ways to stop it. And we we start searching for the whys that caused it.

That’s why the idea of sitting with the pain, as our therapists and yoga teachers and meditation instructors so often urge us to do, is such a struggle.

It goes against our native wiring. It requires mindfulness and patience and vulnerability. And in many cases, that emotional ache hurts just as much as the actual pain itself.

The good news is, if we can stay alert and aware while we’re still uncomfortable, almost as if to wait out the pain, shifting our relationship with the physical resistance we’re experiencing, eventually, a new option will drift into our consciousness.

It might be wisdom. It might be pleasure. It might be joy. It might be meaning. It might be satisfaction. There’s no way to tell what gift awaits us on the other side.

But once we arrive there, we can look back and realize that the pain wasn’t as bad as we thought.

Next time those nerve endings start firing, keep reexamining your discomfort and wait to hear from your body. The message will be worth it.

How could you change your relationship with discomfort?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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