Sitting with Discomfort

Many of us have a hard time slowing down, and though we have been forced in some respects to press pause these days, in other ways, we are running that hamster loop and time has been blurred. Amongst the many realizations we will have come to during this self-isolation period, one will certainly be that most of us need to feel busy, to feel like we’ve accomplished something. Oftentimes, slowing down requires us to sit in quiet, and that can be quite disconcerting. It may highlight our discomfort. Ms. Krista Koekkoek, director of guidance, has been facilitating wellness sessions for parents and for staff, and sitting in discomfort is something that she recommends. We tend to push back on discomfort because it’s...well, uncomfortable. But according to Ms. Koekkoek, discomfort is an opportunity for growth. It’s like failure. Without failure, there is no learning. Without discomfort, there wouldn’t be any progression. Discomfort is natural.

So exactly how does one sit with discomfort? Sometimes it’s about meditating. Other times it’s about simply sitting in silence and recognizing those itchy thoughts and feelings without getting attached to them. Maybe it’s practising martial arts. For others, who practice yoga, it’s engaging in yin or restorative practices. These require yogis to hold poses for much longer than a vinyasa or hatha practice. It’s normal to hear people sighing or giggling during these practices because they are uncomfortable holding an asana for that amount of time and staying within one’s self, with their monkey minds. However, whether it is yoga, martial arts or meditation, or simply being silent and still, the ability to be uncomfortable, turning into ourselves, brings benefits such as increasing flexibility, reducing stress, encouraging relaxation and being in the moment. Focussing on the breath helps.

But let’s be honest, sometimes we just need to get our blood pumping. Sometimes, a good old run, kickboxing routine or weight lifting is what we need to calm our inner selves.

Whatever it is that works for you, I encourage you to switch it up and try different ways of being with discomfort. It’ll only give you more ways to handle times like these and it will support your physical and emotional wellbeing.

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