Today, we are going to talk about the power of discomfort.
Our society is built around the idea of comfort. From the moment you wake up in your comfy sheets, to putting on your comfy pants, to driving in your comfy car, listening to your custom tailored tunes, getting your coffee exactly how you want it from the barista you see everyday, keeping your home/office perfectly temperature controlled at all times, having groceries delivered to your house so you don’t need to rework your schedule to do the work yourself, to Netflix where you can watch as many shows as you want without having the discomfort of commercials. Literally everything is built with ease of use and comfort in mind.
F*ck that. It’s time to get uncomfortable.
Practicing and acknowledging daily discomfort will lead to growth.
There is a saying that what got you here won’t get you there.
This principle is reflected in various scientific laws.
In Physics, Newton’s First Law provides that an object at rest will remain so unless acted on by an outside force.
In Biology, homeostasis is the optimal steady state of function.
In homeostasis, the organism is at a specific temperature range, exerting a specific amount of energy to exist. It is, effectively “comfortable”.
I’ve been reading a lot about cold therapy and cold plunges to understand their health benefits of which there are many. From increased energy levels to higher metabolic rate, decreased inflammation, improved mood, the list is seemingly full of amazing things.
But the reason I started doing it and continue to do so is because I know I don’t have to. I do not have to get 60 pounds of ice and dump it in my 100 gallon tub on my porch, filling it with water and watching the temperature drop to 40 degrees F. I could just as easily spend my time doing something else. Maybe I could mow the lawn, or reorganize my dress socks…
Instead, I set my intention to do something that my brain screams at me NOT to do.
I know consciously that its safe, controlled, and getting in that water will not kill me. My brain, however, is trying to save me from the discomfort. My brain wants me to stay in homeostasis.
The ‘exercise’ is the action of getting in and staying in – no matter what my brain is telling me.
I make the conscious choice to disregard my fight – flight- freeze wiring one step at a time. It starts with setting a timer just before I jump in. Then as my feet hit the water and I let myself sink down, I breathe – slowly – deeply. Even breathes – focusing on the calm steadiness of my exhales.
Rewiring your nervous system through controlled immersive training can be extremely effective. Its precisely why training programs like mine and others use immersive experiences – to predispose your nervous system in a safe way to a new stimulus, to push you to discomfort so you will adapt.
Growth only happens when you’re out of homeostasis.
If you aren’t ready for a cold plunge just yet, thats okay. Accept yourself as you are, where you are. Start with simply turning the shower cold for the last thirty seconds after you’re done rinsing. Build up gradually. I promise you that the mental health exercise and benefits alone are worth it – let alone all the other physical benefits.
You control your mind – not the other way around. Don’t let it boss you around.
Learn to be okay in the discomfort. Once you do, you will see that its a whole new world out there.
Til next time, be well!