This short blog provides three steps for how to sit with discomfort. Discomfort is a broad umbrella term for an array of possible feelings that may be coming up for you. You may experience feelings of discomfort with anxiety, OCD, depression, trauma responses, grief, and much more.
It’s not always easy to sit with discomfort, which is why you’re currently reading this blog. It’s not a pleasant experience. You may want to get rid of this feeling by other means, such as through substance use, self-harm, or trying to avoid it altogether by distracting yourself.
However, you have the potential to develop this skill. You can get to a point where you are able to sit with your own discomfort from start to finish. Talking yourself through it, and supporting yourself, will help you become more resilient.
How to Sit with Discomfort: Validate the uncomfortable feelings
A good way to validate your uncomfortable feelings will be directly acknowledging them. Doing this can help direct you to begin coping. We aren’t programmed to always feel happy or good 24/7. It’s inevitable that we will have moments of feeling difficult emotions that we would rather not.
So, how can you validate these feelings within yourself? One way would be to identify exactly what is going on inside of you. Try describing and defining it. What sensations are you noticing as well, such as a tense body, stomach ache, etc? Don’t downplay them or try to ignore them – embrace them!
You might think, “I’m feeling very anxious right now. It’s making me feel irritable and angry. I can practically hear my heartbeat, and I’m breathing rapidly.”. Or, “I’m feeling really depressed and sad right now. Tears are welling up in my eyes and I’m going to start crying.”.
How to Sit with Discomfort: Slow things down and sit with yourself
Now that you have acknowledged/validated/identified your feelings, it’s time to slow things down and sit with them. This is a difficult part of the process. You may be wanting to immediately get rid of this feeling. For right now, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve just acknowledged.
You can slow things down in a few ways. This could look like slowing down your breathing, or relaxing your body. You might want to close your eyes, sit up right, or lay completely on your back. Practice being aware and mindful of your body and its position.
While doing this, literally sit with the discomfort. Practice reflecting on where this may have stemmed from, or what it’s trying to tell you. What exactly may be causing your discomfort? Don’t overthink this question, just try to retrace your steps from before. Could something have triggered this?
Maybe your feelings appear to have come out of nowhere. This means it may be weighing on you and lingering for quite some time, and resurfaces inconveniently. What are you needing to express, or address inside of you?
How to Sit with Discomfort: Think about ways you can support yourself through this moment
Successfully sitting with discomfort is to successfully know yourself and what you need. While it’s great to have a support system readily available, you also need to independently work through some things in the midst of it. So, what does this look like?
Come up with a list of things you can do to cope. You may want to give yourself a gentle hug and rock back and forth. Maybe you want to practice acceptance for your thoughts and normalizing this experience. You could also practice positive self-talk and counter any negative thoughts coming up for you.
What typically makes you feel calm? Could it be deep breathing, excusing yourself to be alone for a while, or more? Maybe you have a designated playlist that you can put on while sitting with these feelings. Being able to support yourself through this process is possible!
You can learn how to sit with discomfort from start to finish. Consider calling us today for a free consultation on getting started in therapy in Simi Valley, CA.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.