This short blog answers your question – what is sitting with discomfort? What is defined as discomfort, as well? You may have been advised to start sitting with some difficult or uncomfortable feelings. Rather than trying to distract yourself from them, by sitting with them, you can learn more about yourself, your needs, and more.


In a way, this practice is a form of meditation. It’s an intentional act, done with the purpose of understanding yourself better. Tapping into these parts of your consciousness are not always fun. However, it’s essential for your journey in growing from your past into who you want to be today. Without addressing some hard topics, they may continue to pop up at inconvenient times.


Although it seems scary, it can be incredibly healing to engage in this. You’ll be able to create more empathy for yourself, and engage in self-forgiveness. You may provide yourself with the love, care, and understanding that you needed to receive from others. 


Sitting with discomfort comes with 3 steps. First, you’re intentionally focusing on the thoughts & feelings coming up for you. Next, you’re remaining curious and open-minded to what they’re trying to tell you. Finally, you’re not trying to instantly resolve your state of mind or distract yourself.


Anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, CA offers you a non-judgmental and supportive therapeutic experience. Make sure to read our blog on Signs to Start Anxiety Therapy!


What is Sitting with Discomfort?: Intentionally focusing on the thoughts & feelings coming up for you 

a woman struggling to cope with depression and shame in need of therapy in simi valley

Find yourself a quiet and comfortable place to be intentional about sitting with discomfort. This could look like a space in your home, going to the park, a beach, being out in nature, or at a quaint coffee shop. Essentially, avoid places with distractions or noise. You’ll want to be able to comfortably sit with yourself in silence and reflection. 


When we are faced with uncomfortable states of mind, our natural instinct is to get rid of it. We may want to distract ourselves by spending time with friends, using drugs or alcohol, or finding other ways to avoid the experience. You may find that you’re constantly distracting yourself from the inevitable. 


Intentionally focusing on it just means to allow it to occur.


Therefore, sit with these thoughts and feelings and really get to know them. Do you notice anything specific coming up for you, and if there’s a theme in it? Does your mind tend to focus on the same, or similar things? There are unresolved issues inside of you, waiting to be discovered and healed. 


However long you choose to intentionally sit with this is up to you. At first, practicing this skill can cause you to feel the urge to stop. It may prompt some deep, buried sadness inside of you to resurface. However, practicing positive self-talk and reassurance throughout this process can help you tolerate it. If you notice yourself struggling, take a break, and try again another time. 


Approach this practice with an open mind, that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s necessary to feel uncomfortable. We as humans aren’t meant to only experience joy, excitement, or contentment. Through this practice, you will eventually find peace with these parts of yourself. 


Therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps you practice this in a safe setting with a mental health professional. Make sure to read our blog on 3 Ways to Trust Yourself More.


What is Sitting with Discomfort?: Remaining curious and open minded to what they could be trying to tell you 

a man peacefully learning to sit with discomfort thanks to therapy in simi valley

A crucial thing to remember throughout this, is that your thoughts do not define you. Your negative thoughts are not the final truths about you. They are prompted for a reason, signaling an outstanding issue to be addressed or accepted.

Some thoughts that may come up for you during this time include:


  • I’m not good enough / I’ll never be good enough.

  • I’m a bad friend/partner/family member/person. 

  • I don’t have anything to feel proud about.

  • I’m weak for feeling this way.

  • I’m worthless / my life is not worth anything.


These thoughts you’re experiencing are likely attached to a combination of feelings. This includes shame, regret, sadness, grief, frustration, anger, or more. Label all of them, and if any feelings significantly stand out. Try to envision that they’re laid out in front of you, in their own individual spots. 


Let’s start with using shame as an example. Shame is usually associated with negative self-evaluation, such as not feeling good enough, feeling that you’re being weak, or more. You may be experiencing shame as a result of past mistakes, an absence of an accomplishment, or your current human experience & emotions. 


Negative thoughts circulate your mind, prompting you to feel bad. Do you feel shame around anything in particular? Maybe in your childhood, you were discouraged or shamed for having difficult feelings. You were told that you were ungrateful, dramatic, or just seeking attention. As an adult, you struggle to express yourself or be vulnerable with others. 


You may even struggle to accept this as your current reality, and try to deny it. By experiencing shame, it could mean that you’re in need of increased self-love, self-acceptance, or self-support. 

Therefore, what can you provide to yourself? Some self reassurance, perhaps? What affirmations or positive/neutral self-talk can you incorporate into your stream of consciousness?


Some examples may include:


  • I allow myself to feel difficult emotions and won’t shame myself about them.

  • I am deserving of being truly loved and appreciated. 

  • I accept myself for who I am and what I’m feeling. 

  • It’s okay that I’m feeling this way right now. I got myself through this. It will pass.

  • I’m a strong person. I know I am. Look at how far I’ve come.


Trauma therapy in Simi Valley, CA pairs you with a licensed, experienced therapist. For those looking to address trauma or PTSD, make sure to read our blog on How to Process Trauma!


What is Sitting with Discomfort?: Not trying to instantly resolve your state of mind or distract yourself

a woman sitting with her uncomfortable feelings and journaling thanks to trauma therapy in simi valley

As mentioned before, it can take trial and error to engage in this practice. You don’t want to overwhelm or re-traumatize yourself during this process. In fact, if you are struggling with significant trauma or stressors, it’s recommended that you start with a therapist to address these issues. Otherwise, if you feel comfortable and safe proceeding with this, aim to not instantly distract yourself. 


Distracting yourself looks like grabbing your phones to start scrolling on social media. Maybe you’re calling someone to have a conversation about something totally different. You may even begin drinking alcohol or using drugs with the intent to exit this state of mind.


This may temporarily stop you from facing it, but it will resurface eventually.


Aim to be in a comfortable position and space, and even clothing. You can play some thought provoking music in the background, such as instrumentals or mellow/calming music. You just want to be alone with your thoughts and feelings. By literally sitting, taking them all in (yet not taking them personally), you can gain more power over your state of mind than you think.


Engage in this from a third person perspective and detach yourself from your current reality. You may think to yourself, “Wow, I’m really feeling stressed out right now.” Or, “I feel really frustrated, aren’t I”. From there, you can begin narrowing down what’s going on for you, and why. You can understand what significant event caused you to feel this way. You can contemplate your needs, whether from yourself or others. 


Feeling interested in learning more about how to sit with discomfort? Consider calling us today for a free consultation on individual therapy in Simi Valley. We are holding sessions in-person, or virtual throughout the state of California. 


In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Therefore, check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. In addition, 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. However, you don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. By clicking here, you’ll read our blog on Information About Simi Valley Therapists.


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’re wanting 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.


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