Discomfort is painful;
Discomfort is liberating.
Sit and watch… problems can bring their own solutions and solutions can become their own problem.
So often one finds some way to end a discomfort just to find that resolution dissolve over time and a new (or repeated) discomfort arise in its place.
Wanting something one doesn’t have; not-wanting something that one has; wanting to hold onto something that one knows will not remain forever… What is discomfort but a desire for something to be different, and what is a desire but a striving toward its own dissolution?
One desires – or “wants” – in order to end the state of “wanting”; one knows one is no longer thirsty after taking a long drink because there is no longer a dopamine-driven motivation to change (disequilibrium), but rather a serotonin-infused state of satisfaction (equilibrium… albeit, temporary).
What motivates us toward the ending of “wanting”? (i.e. why do we ever want things to be different?)… Necessity, for sure – but also habit.
Habit forms the way we are in-the-world: personality is a constellation of mental, emotional, and motor habits in response to experience that seem to solidify as traits of “who we are”. So, where are we when discomfort emerges and how do we train ourselves to respond in a preferable and sustainable way?
A big habit we all have is to close-up and turn-away. This sounds like a good response to discomfort “on paper”, but exploring the alternate response of opening-up and turning-towards can reveal the deeply mysterious result of a problem pointing to its own “self-liberating” resolution.
How, then, is this put into practice? There are endless ways to improve one’s response to distress, but some may prove more fitting to you than others. Experimenting with exercise, diet, and sleep, for example, can be very illuminating.
Journal with detail the way you feel* when you try different things like intentional and purposeful stretching in the morning (opening up of the muscles with good posture and matching movement to breath); or when stopping eating a few bites before you normally would; or when you put away the screens an hour before you attempt to fall asleep — [*I mean “feel” in a technical sense; namely, the condition of the emotional body (discovered through the practice of “interoception”: sensations of the viscera and gastrointestinal tract), and how it interrelates with mental occurrences of image and self-talk.]
Use the journaling to examine the results of these “experiments” with food, activity, and inactivity – if some pattern of ingestion, movement, and/or rest improves the way you handle distress (or improves anything in life), do that more often…