Way Outside of My Comfort Zone
“You want me to give myself an enema?” I asked my friend, Kristin, who had successfully dealt with the same discomfort I was experiencing.
“Yes, it will help relieve the pain and discomfort you’re feeling. It’s also really good for your colon,” she said.
She wasn’t talking about the kind you get from the drug store, where the whole thing is over in just a few minutes.
No. That would be too easy. “Besides, those are terrible for your system,” Kristin said.
“You need a real enema—one that cleanses your colon.”
“You want me to lay in a bathtub with a liter of chamomile-infused tea water in my colon?”
“Yes, see if you can tolerate five-to-seven minutes your first time,” she encouraged, as if such practices were normal. Then she sent me a link to a woman who shows you how to do it.
Starting at My Discomfort
With the gift of desperation on my side, I ordered the darn thing. Then I stared at the packaging for several weeks. Even thinking about doing the thing that might make me feel better made me uncomfortable.
Eventually, the disconcerting thoughts trumped all imaginable relief, and I put it under the bathroom sink. Out of sight, out of mind.
The Solution Probably Sits Outside of Being Comfortable
Ever find yourself in a position similar—frustrated by a blockage in your life? Maybe there’s a particular area of your life or work that seems stuck, and you’ve been unable to figure out what needs to change? Maybe you’ve tried everything, or maybe there’s a solution right in front of you, but it seems too uncomfortable to try. So you avoid the one thing that might help (if you could get out of your comfort zone), and wind up banging your head against the wall instead.
But what if you try that one thing that seems way outside your comfort zone? What if you ask yourself what you really need, and then accepted the answer (regardless if the idea felt too uncomfortable), even if it is weird, out of the ordinary, or simply too time consuming?
Where do those ideas go, anyway? (Under the sink, maybe?) Could the idea you’re not doing anything with (often easy, but not always simple) actually be the solution?
Out Of The Comfort Zone: 10 Relief Inducing Ideas
Here are a few excellent relief-inducing ideas (a little outside of our personal comfort zones) that often go unused.
- Having honest conversations. (It can be very difficult to be totally transparent with our thoughts. Working to create relationships based on true and open communication can be uncomfortable, but so beneficial.)
- Listening and repeating back what you heard (with the intention of truly understanding another person.)
- Journaling at the end of every day. (Even just 5 minutes of writing can help with clarity of thought, deeper sleep, and feeling calm when waking in the morning. But journaling can seem like a waste of time, and can be physically uncomfortable if you’re not used to writing with a pencil/pen.)
- Meditating. (Just 5 minutes a day can help reduce stress, enhance self-awareness, promote faster healing, boost serotonin, reduce cortisol, and help you respond better/react less.)
- Yoga.(10 minutes a day on your yoga mat can improve flexibility, stability, energy and vitality. Add meditation to the end of yoga and you’ve just given your brain and body a healthy dose of relaxation.)
- Drinking eight glasses of water every day. (8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day increases optimal brain function, helps to reduce headaches, and even relieves constipation. It also helps prevent hangovers, treat kidney stones, and aid in weight loss. What more could a person want?)
- Removing caffeine from your diet (yes, coffee fiends, it’s worth a try, and can help improve your overall mood and attitude, although uncomfortable to think about the headaches you may go through from caffeine withdrawal.)
- Getting to know new people. (Meetup.com was designed to bring strangers with similar interests together. In most cases, people enter these groups not knowing each other. As a result, many groups do a good job making that first handshake a little less uncomfortable.)
- Learning a new language. (In addition to being among the top brain boosters, learning a new language a great way to increase the number of people you can communicate and connect with, increasing serotonin and other happy hormones.)
- Eating lunch with people you might not otherwise have lunch with (In the case of business leaders, consider making it a point to eat with your team, ask good questions, and get to know them as people, not just employees. Doing so leads to an increase in trust, accountability, and collaboration.)
Discomfort Masquerading As Lack Of Time
Who has time for all of that anyway? There’s work to do, promotions to be had, and customers to tend to! At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
Most people would rather find a new job, employee, customer, career, or even a new spouse (relationships of all sorts) than dig a little deeper and try a different approach.
Why is that?
We’d rather tolerate the discomfort of what we know (finding someone/something new) than risk the awkwardness of trying something new with the people and situations we’re already encountering. It’s human nature.
New results from the same situations require change. Even the best kinds of change are rarely comfortable in the moment.
An Ounce of Discomfort Now Is Worth A Pound Of Regret
The good news is that discomfort generally lasts a short period of time. Once you get past the first few minutes of being uncomfortable, it’s not so bad.
On the other hand, you can spend a lifetime wishing you’d worked through the discomfort you felt (at some point), knowing it could have helped you achieve a new result.
This is as true with your career as it is with your personal life.
Overcoming Fear And Getting Through Discomfort Leads To Joy
The problem is that fear of discomfort can easily stop you from pursuing the very experiences that will lead to greater freedom and joy in your life. For this very reason, it’s important to welcome the discomfort that has the potential to help you.
Breaking through the fear of discomfort helps to create a virtuous cycle in your life. It allows new and improved ideas and behaviors to make their way into your thought process.
When you intentionally disrupt your comfort zone, you send a clear signal to the Universe that you’re willing to do whatever’s necessary to get different results. And thankfully, making it to the other side of fear in one area of your life strengthens your courage to make changes in all areas of life.
Neuroplasticity’s Latest Findings – Dealing With Discomfort
By pushing through discomfort, you can literally change your brain, and its reactivity to the discomfort of change. By intentionally experimenting with a new behavior (one that has a chance of netting a better result), you help your brain form new connections in the neurons of your brain.
These behavior changes can be something as simple as drinking an 8 ounce glass of water (the moment you wake up), opting to breathe instead of over reacting to irritating situations or people (saying nothing until the irritation passes), or meditating for 5 minutes every morning.
The smaller the change, the easier it is for your brain to adjust. The more you practice helping your brain to form new responses to uncomfortable situations, the easier it becomes.
Choosing To Be Uncomfortable
When your results aren’t quite up to snuff and you hear a suggestion that might help, try it—even if it initially leaves you feeling uncomfortable.
I’m not sure if there’s any more uncomfortable area to experiment with, (much less share about in a professional blog), than releasing blockages in my lower intestine.
The process was far less than ideal, and certainly uncomfortable, but I was committed to getting some relief.
The Result of Overcoming My Own Discomfort?
My whole body felt better. The enema wasn’t painful, unlike the more traditional medicines I’d tried in the weeks before the enema. My thinking cleared up, I was able to rest better at night, and (somewhat surprisingly), my courage in other areas of my life increased. Turns out, this is what happens when you get past the fear of doing the uncomfortable thing, and do it anyway.
When there’s potential for positive results, take the risk, get uncomfortable, and enjoy the benefits of new results.
Your Experience of Overcoming Discomfort?
Have you had a similar experience? Share your story with me in the comments section below. I love to hear your stories.
Here’s to your greatness,
Misti Burmeister has been helping companies and leaders create a culture of trust for more than 15 years. Help your team reach its highest potential at https://MistiBurmeister.com