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Changing our relationship with discomfort

I’ve been thinking a lot about discomfort and my resistance to it, which shows up as a need to avoid it at all costs. Like many of us, I started using food as a child to deal with any form of emotional hurt, and in my family there was a fair amount of that. I created a very deep groove in my brain, a neural pathway of response: emotional discomfort? Eat something and eat enough of it to get numb.

While this was a survival technique for me that worked well as a child and as an adolescent, it is now a habit that doesn’t serve me. More and more of the wisdom available to us tells us to lean into the discomfort so that it can pass. When we avoid it—or worse, numb it, it doesn’t go away. It just stays stuck in the body and compounds the next bout of discomfort.

So how do we lean into the discomfort? We wait. When we feel off or hurt or angry or annoyed, we wait. We don’t eat. We don’t run. We don’t get busy. We wait. And I know this is so much easier to say than to do. But it’s worth it.

What are your tools for dealing with discomfort?

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