As human beings, we are pain averse – an evolutionary trait which equips us better for survival. However, pain can come in many forms and though aversion to physical pain is usually necessary and self-protective, at times it may be more helpful to allow tolerance for discomfort. In our modern society we often use tools to avoid the pain in our lives: pop a pill from the doctor for a headache; veg out in front of the telly after a stressful day; or eat that extra choccie in the afternoon to relieve fatigue. Our avoidance mechanisms are plentiful and far-reaching. But do these techniques truly serve us and our wellbeing, and even our growth? Obviously only you can answer that for yourself, however, there are many benefits that arise from tolerating uncomfortable situations. Some of these are increased patience, less stress derived from situations over which we are powerless, and often the ability to have a clearer perception of the world.
There are several ways in which we can start to train the brain to accept uncomfortable situations in everyday life, which might begin to coax your system into understanding the paybacks of awareness and tolerance for discomfort. One simple exercise is to become more mindful of when discomfort occurs. For example, if your nose becomes itchy be aware of this happening in your body; allow yourself to feel the itch before you actually take action. See where in your body you are registering this discomfort. Sure, it is happening in your nose, but what is your brain telling you about the feeling? What feeling are you experiencing emotionally? Perhaps you feel irritation or annoyance? Or perhaps you feel angry because it is a recurring itch? Take notice of these reactions and responses and then see if you can tolerate them without doing anything about it for the time being.
A small step like this towards allowing your feelings to occur could develop a pathway for other feelings, such as mild pain in the body. What is your body trying to tell you through that pain? What else, besides pain, is happening in your mind and body when you feel such a pain? And then try to take it further – what happens when you return home from a stressful day at work? Notice the gap between arrival and couching up for the evening – are there feelings there which you would rather not feel? Why? What could these feelings be telling you about you and your life? Use these moments to become more mindful and more tolerant of times of discomfort. Even use them to derive increased sexual pleasure, whether you alone or with a lover. You just never know what you might learn about yourself – and nothing is sexier than self-awareness!
Obviously it is important to make the disclaimer that this is NOT medical advice and please consult your health practitioner if you are in doubt!
Make an appointment with Conscious Intimacy today to learn more mindful techniques.