Emotional Wellbeing

Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

Why it’s important to tolerate discomfort



Distress tolerance

If you’ve ever put something off, you can probably figure out that you have had a negative feeling that has led you to procrastinate. This feeling comes from an inability to tolerate discomfort. The more you try to avoid discomfort in life, the further you will fall behind. It takes discipline to tolerate discomfort. Does your discomfort drive your behaviour?

If you can say to yourself “I don’t like discomfort, but I can stand it”, you will be amazed at how much more you may be able to do in your life. You could overcome fear, rejection, boredom, frustration, exhaustion, resentment etc…

Increasing  tolerance to discomfort

Practise observing your discomfort in a detached manner, without trying to change it or get involved with it. Try not to struggle with it or try to get rid of it – just watch it as it is. Often, when people do this they find that their discomfort eases. Detaching is a skill and takes practise.

Steps to being more detached and less judgemental

Be aware

Be aware of what you are experiencing, notice your breathing, sensations in your body as it makes contact with the surrounding environment, sounds around you, things you can see, touch, smell and taste. Notice your emotions and thoughts.

Watch and observe with no judgement

Once you are more aware of your experience and how it affects you body and mind, get used to being an observer of your experience. Don’t try to change anything or get caught up in it. Imagine you are watching yourself on a movie screen and you are in the audience.  Be non-judgemental – try not to label the experience as good as bad. See it just as it is. You can use words such as “Here is a feeling of anger/frustration etc” Try to relate to them as just feelings, nothing more and nothing less. Remind yourself that you are NOT your feelings and that you are MORE than just your feelings”.

Let Go

If you allow your experience to be as it is without judgement, you might find it feels less scary and you are able to accept it more easily. We often resist what we fear and t makes the situation worse. Breathe in blue, breathe out red – visualise this and it can help you feel calmer.

Riding the wave of discomfort is possible and will lead to accomplishing more, less procrastination and a feeling of achievement. Discomfort is temporary, see it in a neutral way.

Don’t be afraid of a little discomfort, we all have to go through it – meeting new people, going to the gym, going for a job interview etc..there are many times when we feel discomfort. Learn to observe and not attach meaning and emotions to it. You will see how fearful situations become much easier!

Mandy X