Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

This week, we’ll focus on building two of the underlying skills that it takes to do what you need to do in order to reach your goals.

  • Tolorating discomfort and distress 

  • Putting situations into perspective 

If you watched the video of the TED talk from the last email then you will remember the famous Marshmallow Experiment that was done by researcher Walter Mischel at Stanford in the early 1970s.

Mischel sat children between the ages of four and six in an empty room with a marshmallow on a table. Researchers told each child that they could have one marshmallow right now, but if they waited a little while, then they could have two marshmallows. Then, the researchers left the children alone with the marshmallow to see what happened.

Some kids ate the marshmallow immediately.

Some kids waited a few minutes, then caved in.

But about one-third of the children were able to wait longer.

They came up with ways to avoid the marshmallow temptation while they waited. Some covered their eyes or turned away from the marshmallow. Some invented little distractions, such as humming. Their payoff was twice as many marshmallows, two!

By waiting — or delaying gratification — these children succeeded in getting more in the long term than they had in the short term.

Good job kids! But what’s even more impressive is that they understand the benefit of short versus long-term outcomes.

Children who were able to delay gratification in the marshmallow experiment turned out to be more successful later on too. (By the way, this experiment also worked with pretzels, candy, and chocolate, in case you were concerned that maybe kids just didn’t like marshmallows.)

In the late 1980s, Mischel followed up with the kids he’d studied.

Turns out, the two-marshmallow kids were still winning the game of life. They were doing better socially and academically. They had their act together.

And guess what? The same principle of focusing on what you want, ignoring distractions, and delaying gratification in the service of one’s bigger goals applies to changing habits too.

The value of having a tolerance for discomfort 

Besides the fact that you’ll be able to resist interrogation from enemy forces, distress and discomfort are intrinsic to change. If we don’t feel at least a little uncomfortable, we probably aren’t changing, developing, or growing.

Research has shown that in extreme cases of disordered eating, the subjects have a lower-than-average tolerance for emotional distress.

At the first signs of emotional discomfort, they numb out or let loose with a binge. Or they clamp down with control, compensation, or restriction. Either way, the goal is to get away from the icky stuff. Fast.

You don’t have to be a masochist or go looking for discomfort. Discomfort will find you soon enough. And when it does, you’ll  be ready to handle it with skill, stability, and grace.

Here are two simple concepts that you can use to help tolerate distress and discomfort, as well as put things into perspective.

  • Discomfort delay

  • The scale of 1 to 10

The discomfort delay

A great new mantra: Respond, don’t react.

Reacting is an automatic behavior triggered by an emotional hijacking, distraction, or habit.

Responding is placing our attention thoughtfully, with mindfulness and conscious intent, rather than having it pulled.

Reacting is lizard brain. Responding is thinky brain.

A great technique for improving your chances of responding vs reacting is to use a time delay. All you’ve got to do is agree to the following “discomfort deal”.

Place your hand over your heart and read out loud:

When I feel discomfort, I promise to sit with that discomfort — in whatever form it takes — for 1 to 2 minutes. During that time, I will notice and name the discomfort as best I can. After that, I will make the choice I feel is appropriate.

Discomfort comes in an infinite amount of ways. The next time you experience it, simply look at the time, or set a timer, and sit with that discomfort. You can start with 1–2 minutes of discomfort (or even 10–20 seconds) and progress to longer and longer time periods.

A silly example of sitting with discomfort that I like to use is this; instead of waiting on your shower to get nice and steamy before hoping in, get in while it’s still a little chilly! See if you can sit with that discomfort for a bit before turning up the heat.

I know this might seem strange, but learning to delay satisfaction in whatever form it might be translates directly to change and success in the long run.

Do it for the extra marshmallow!

Treat this “discomfort deal” as a success and high-five yourself for doing it. Every time you do this behavior, you’re making yourself stronger, and grooving new brain pathways!

The discomfort delay

A great new mantra: Respond, don’t react.

Reacting is an automatic behavior triggered by an emotional hijacking, distraction, or habit.

Responding is placing our attention thoughtfully, with mindfulness and conscious intent, rather than having it pulled.

Reacting is lizard brain. Responding is thinky brain.

A great technique for improving your chances of responding vs reacting is to use a time delay. All you’ve got to do is agree to the following “discomfort deal”.

Place your hand over your heart and read out loud:

When I feel discomfort, I promise to sit with that discomfort — in whatever form it takes — for 1 to 2 minutes. During that time, I will notice and name the discomfort as best I can. After that, I will make the choice I feel is appropriate.

Discomfort comes in an infinite amount of ways. The next time you experience it, simply look at the time, or set a timer, and sit with that discomfort. You can start with 1–2 minutes of discomfort (or even 10–20 seconds) and progress to longer and longer time periods.

A silly example of sitting with discomfort that I like to use is this; instead of waiting on your shower to get nice and steamy before hoping in, get in while it’s still a little chilly! See if you can sit with that discomfort for a bit before turning up the heat.

I know this might seem strange, but learning to delay satisfaction in whatever form it might be translates directly to change and success in the long run.

Do it for the extra marshmallow!

Treat this “discomfort deal” as a success and high-five yourself for doing it. Every time you do this behavior, you’re making yourself stronger, and grooving new brain pathways!

*|FNAME|*, you are incredible. You are strong; you are smart. You are beautiful and you are talented.

We have covered a lot of stuff in the last 5 weeks. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please do not worry. It is completely normal and I can totally relate.

For now, our biggest focus lies with building our habit of eating slowly and mindfully.

Hit a Jedi Breath whenever you’re feeling stressed out, and just take notice of the stories you tell about yourself (to yourself and to others), and the values that you hold true.

Today’s practice was placed here, now, in preparation for next weeks new habit. It will require a tolorence of some level of discomfort, as well as a small sacrifice. But, all change does.

You are ready and you are capable. As long as you are willing, results are guaranteed. 

In all sincerity,
-Nate Burditt
Owner/Head Coach

Contact Us:

Tel: 325.763.6292

Email: train@wtswi.com​
 

Location​​​​​​: 1909 Knickerbocker Rd,

San Angelo, TX 76904

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