Feeling pain – Don’t hide from your discomfort

Pain and suffering are two terms we don’t like to hear, let alone feel. Most of us, as a result, go on to spend most of our lives avoiding discomfort and feeling pain.

Anxious feelings or low moods certainly lead us to get lost in a myriad of distractions and negative coping mechanisms.

How many times when in the dumps, would you have you reached out for that comfort food? Or spent hours on end mindlessly browsing through your social media feed? Or drank a bottle of wine too many over a ‘relaxed’ drink?

Not saying to give them up, I myself, for instance, am guilty of them all, to the point they became an addiction.

You see, technology has pounced on the insecurities of our human nature to feel connected to other people. 

We have gone on to associate our smartphones and social media feeds as one of the primary sources of feeling connected to the world around us.

Technology isn’t the only culprit, however. Junk food by means of added sugars and trans-fats go on to provide a quick fix for boosting dopamine levels in the brain (the feel good hormone), whilst alcohol, goes on to suppress the nervous system and to make you feel good (at least until that ‘last drink was extra’)

All indirectly contribute towards the avoidance of discomfort, because we have a preconception that discomfort is bad.

In the short term they do help, though in the long term any insecurities or underlying pain you are drowning in distraction will always resurface.

I learnt the hard way.

If not distract myself when feeling pain, what can I do?

Well, nothing is the plain and simple answer. 

You can reach a point, however, where you are no longer bothered by your discomfort by doing nothing and simply allowing it to be there.

It takes practice and it isn’t easy at first, but it does generate positive results. 

The next time you feel discomfort, you will feel an automatic urge to tighten your chest and reach for your smartphone or preferred distraction. Instead, mindfully become aware of this discomfort and relax into the feeling, whilst observing any accompanying thoughts without judging them.

In time, the more you do this, the more your pain and suffering will lose power over you and the more you will come to use your prior distractions for an all new different reason.

You will also come to form a new preconception that it’s actually ok to not be ok.

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