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Getting Comfortable With the Uncomfortable

I honestly think one of the most annoying, clichéd quotes out there is anything having to do with “getting outside your comfort zone.” Why? Well, partly because doesn’t everyone already know the importance of pushing themselves and trying something new? But mainly because it’s typically uttered by someone who is trying to convince you to do something you don’t want to do.

Nonetheless, an unavoidable fact of life is that along the way, due to myriad reasons and wants and goals and ideas, we are sometimes (or frequently, or rarely, depending on your lifestyle) put into situations that make us outright uncomfortable – and a necessary skill to learn is how to be okay with that. Because once you have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, you will likely no longer fear situations unfamiliar to you – and that’s a good thing because, as I’ve already said, those situations are unavoidable.

Identify the issue(s).

As is the case with many other things, I think the trick to learning how to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations is practice. Also, it’s helpful to know in advance whether you may feel ill at ease in a situation so that you may take measures to prepare yourself. So, the first step here would be to pinpoint which types of situations (that are likely to actually happen in your daily life) tend to make you uncomfortable. Maybe it’s calling someone you haven’t in a while, maybe it’s walking into a party or event where you know no one, maybe it’s giving a presentation or trying to learn a new game or physical activity – make a list.

Find your center.

Just like you identified the things that make you feel uncomfortable, make a list of thoughts that make you feel peace. These thoughts could be sayings or mantras that you can repeat to yourself, a happy place or activity that you are able to visualize, or any sort of relaxation or meditation exercise that you find helps. Store those away to be used as needed.

Find a balance.

Even though unfamiliar situations arise from time to time, it’s important to remember that life is not only composed of those. More often than not, we spend our time in places, conversations and activities that bring us comfort and joy. If your day happens to contain an uncomfortable moment, make sure that it contains plenty of comfortable ones as well.

Set goals and celebrate.

Say you feel uncomfortable at networking events, but you have one scheduled on your calendar. Before you go, set a goal for yourself. It doesn’t have to be something big or intimidating; it could be to introduce yourself to at least three new people, or to stay for at least an hour. Whatever it is, commit to it – and when you’ve accomplished that goal, allow yourself to feel proud and pleased. The more you go through this process, the more you’ll find that those situations that used to scare you no longer feel so ­– you guessed it – uncomfortable.

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