What comes to mind when you think about discomfort?
Perhaps you remember were learning to drive a stick shift vehicle (with manual transmission), or taking your last English exam in high school. Maybe you are seeking a promotion at work now and it is just not happening. Or you and your partner are trying for a baby.
Discomfort lets us know we are growing
Change can make us feel uncomfortable. We can feel inadequate, insecure, and frustrated as we try new things or seek to transition to the next life stage. But change is an essential aspect of our personal growth. It is easy to understand that on a rational level. But there are also the conflicting energies of discomfort and internal resistance at play as we are growing and changing.
What are the benefits of discomfort?
When we realise discomfort is an essential component on our spiritual journey, we can be encouraged and use it to our advantage. One research experiment (with over 2,000 participants) showed this. The study found that when people learn discomfort is a sign of growth, they start to accept it. They consciously and deliberately seek out growth experiences and embrace the discomfort that comes with those experiences.
When we feel discomfort, we are stepping out of our comfort zones. We are breaking personal growth barriers. And as this happens, new neural pathways are created. Why? Because our brains are being moulded by our new experiences. We can’t stay stagnant when this happens. New experiences are good for our creativity; we become more curious and open to new possibilities. Our brains also start to produce more dopamine, the neurotransmitter that supports motivation, learning and memory, mood and movement. That is why we can tend to feel energised in new situations.
The rewards of growth outweigh discomfort
The late Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Dr C) described this energised state of “flow” or “being in the zone” in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
His research shows that “flow” is “that delicate zone between boredom and anxiety” that results in “energised concentration, optimal enjoyment, full involvement” where the person in flow is “usually focused, motivated, positive, energised, and aligned with the task at hand.”
We can be assured that when we are seeking positive change in our lives that we will feel uncomfortable and frustrated from time to time. But we can know the rewards outweigh temporary discomfort.
I encourage you to embrace discomfort as you seek to inhabit that optimal state of “flow.” It can be a challenge, because “flow” is that delicate balance between boredom and anxiety. When you start to view discomfort from a different perspective, you may recognise it as a sign that you are on the right path on your soul journey.
Sometimes we can experience more than just pockets of healthy discomfort as we work through change. If you suspect you are dealing with discomfort that is unhealthy, I may be able to help you in a personalised 60-minute 1-on-1 session. Click here to access my online calendar. And if you are one of my VIP clients, I encourage you to use your VIP booking links.