Tolerating Discomfort

Man in icy waterDiscomfort is an unavoidable feeling. Anxiety, depression, anger, urges… these can be uncomfortable, even painful, experiences. While you may be tempted to avoid discomfort or to attempt to make it go away as quickly as possible, struggling against discomfort typically intensifies it. Alternatively, accepting that pain is just a part of life can actually make a painful experience easier to bear. In other words, the most effective way to deal with discomfort/pain is often to learn how to tolerate it.

Your beliefs play a role in your ability to tolerate discomfort. If you tell yourself that discomfort is unbearable or that you shouldn’t have to feel any pain, then you will likely make the situation more challenging. Instead, try using coping statements such as “I can get through this” or “This too shall pass.” Recall times that you have effectively managed pain or discomfort in the past and recognize that if you were able to get through those times, you will be able to get through whatever painful experience you are presently facing as well. And remember, like any other feeling, discomfort is only temporary; with time, it will decrease or disappear.