Stop avoiding uncomfortable sensations
… and liberate yourself
Uncomfortable sensations make us panic, whether we are are aware of it or not. It is a biological reaction that our nervous system has in response to discomfort. We do everything we can to avoid uncomfortableness. If something hurts (physically or emotionally) we tend to jump over it, around it or look the other way. We see this in our over-medicated medical culture. Every time an unpleasant sensation arises we try to find something to stop it and get it to go away. This is incredibly unfortunate. This pattern of avoiding and getting rid (though may produce temporary relief), overtime creates numbness, flatness and disconnection as we search for more methods, tools, or procedures to stop us from feeling uncomfortable things.
This will probably not be a surprise to you, but as you numb away the uncomfortable sensations, you also numb away the range of pleasant and blissful sensations that you can feel. You narrow your range of feeling. Because the mind and body are connected I see this mirrored in the body as people experiencing a limited range of motion in their body. This can manifest as decreased flexibility in the spine or decreased motion in a specific joint such as the knee, shoulder, hip, wrist or hand.
Learning to be with uncomfortable sensations is a skill
You can do it in 1, 2, 3
Because we spend so much energy and time trying to avoid what is present (especially when its uncomfortable) we often feel exhausted. Then when we finally hit a crisis point we look for the easiest method to restore us back to at least a functional level again because we don’t have much energy left for anything else. This is the primary reason most people never fully heal. They get themselves back to functioning and forget to address the underlying causes that got them into crisis in the first place. Then 6 months down the road they find themselves in a new or similar crisis. Its a vicious cycle.
The good news is that you can learn to be with uncomfortable sensations. You can even start today! Here are 3 easy steps to get started.
- Next time you have an uncomfortable sensation, either in your body or mind (feelings/thoughts), stop doing whatever your doing.
- Put your hand on the sensation if its in your body, or place your focus on it if it a feeling/thought
- Instead of trying to wish it away, slowly sink into the sensation/feeling as much as you can allow yourself too
As you make this a daily practice you will being to notice that you can go a little bit deeper into uncomfortableness each time. If you do this you will begin to notice changes in your sensations and feelings without having to “fix them”. You will also notice that your biological tendency to run from or need to try and change them lessens. With this you will being to realize how powerful you are.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC