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How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

I’ll never forget the day I met my in-laws for the first time. This was before my husband and I got married, so clearly, I was worried about that first impression. I may have been a little nervous (okay, maybe a lot) because most of what I remember is hazy.

…Except for one scary moment which, unfortunately, is still pretty clear.

So, we all go out for ice cream that was meant to be eaten on a plate with a spoon (don’t ask me why) and we’re all sitting inside the car. I tried to be polite and “pretend” to enjoy it—but since I really wasn’t, the ice-cream was melting faster than I could eat it and almost brimming over the edge of the plate. Everything was fine until someone, or something, hit my elbow and the plate (which I was trying to balance on my purse) tipped over.

You can probably imagine what happened next…

…Ice-cream inside my purse, ice-cream on my clothes, ice-cream on the car floor. It was a mess! And so was my very first impression.

I now realize that it was more my nervousness and inability to refuse the ice cream offer, move comfortably, or even eat sensibly that caused the accident! Had I been more “comfortable” in this uncomfortable situation, my first impression would have fared better.

So is there a way I could have prepared myself for this situation? Self-help gurus and experts would say there is. Here’s a list of ways people can practice being calm and relaxed at times they are ill at ease.

How to Practice Being Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations

1 ) Practice being around new people

Have you ever been to a career or networking event where you felt totally out of place? That’s your comfort zone telling you that you’re in the “danger zone” or experiencing discomfort. Instead of listening to that inner voice, challenge it and step beyond what you believe to be your comfort zone. Don’t stick around in a corner and leave with only a card or two in hand. Meet as many people as you can and start conversations out of the blue. What’s the worst that can happen?

You’ll say something wrong and they may move on to the next person. Sure, it may hurt your ego a little bit but you’re never going to see them again, are you? Once you get into the habit of doing this and learn all of the tricks (with practice), you’ll be able to extend that zone line beyond the normal boundaries every time you meet a new person.

2 ) Hang out with diverse thinkers

We tend to stick around with people we like or can easily relate to. However, if you want to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations, you should open yourself up to diverse people with diverse thoughts. Sure, it may be a little uncomfortable and first and you may even find yourself arguing with them every once in a while. But you’ll eventually realize that such people always challenge your assumption of what you believe to be true and ask tough questions you may never have thought of before.

A large part of learning and being ready for any challenge in life is accomplished by deliberately putting yourself in challenging situations and being around people who challenge you.

3 ) Do the unusual

What are you “used to” doing? Perhaps, you love taking a shower immediately in the morning and allowing that to wake you up. How about a daily dose of endorphins instead to wake you up and kick in that good mood? Rush yourself to work every day? Try waking up an hour earlier and making sure you fix yourself a scrumptious breakfast before you leave.

Used to dressing it your usual jeans and t-shirt every day? Why not try a formal attire and surprise everyone with your new look? We’re sure you get the idea by now! Try doing unusual things every now and then to move beyond your level of comfort.

4 ) Clear your head

One of the most obvious ways to react to challenging situations is to bring yourself at ease. Stress tends to cloud our minds and have us thinking several things at once. These thoughts usually lack clarity and disrupt our focus. Every time you experience this, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and clear you head.

Think only one thought at a time and prevent others thoughts from forcing their way in. This will allow you to think prudently and act immediately when you know a challenge is headed your way (in my case, the predictable challenge was the dangerous level of ice cream in my plate!).

5 ) Write about it

Not all of our uncomfortable situations are experienced on the spot or are temporary. Some of these uncomfortable situations are long-term, resulting in anxiety that piles and adds by the day. For instance, you could be nearing a deadline for a presentation in front of board members.

Writing about your anxiety and the pressure during this time will allow you to express your feelings, clear your head, and get a better picture of what lies ahead. This will also allow you to get organized and figure out what you have accomplished or should be doing to accomplish in the future.

6 ) Practice public speaking

Public speaking is probably one of the most awkward and uncomfortable situations we often face. In order to overcome the fear of public speaking, or fear of any other awkward situation for that matter, its best to face this fear head on until it simply stops being the boogie monster under our bed. We can assure you that it will do a lot to improve your confidence and the way act, react, and talk, and behave in uncomfortable situations!

7 ) Travel a lot

Now, this one is certainly not easy for everyone. But if you have the time, money, and courage to do so, being a passionate wanderer is certainly going to prepare for even the most unexpected of situations. Traveling teaches you a lot about adventure, taking risks, spontaneity, quick decision-making, and being comfortable with the “uncomfortable”. Hey, who says you always have to go beyond national borders to travel? There are so many new places, people, cultures, cuisines, and environments to explore within our own national borders.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable: I’ve experimented with this technique several times, and I found it works really well! It’s pretty simple. All you have to do is tell yourself, “Okay, I know I’m going to be facing an uncomfortable situation right now, but it is okay. Anyone would be uncomfortable if they were in my position. Just relax and be yourself”. Just try it, because it works like magic!

Final thoughts..

In the end, don’t stress over your mistakes when you’re finally out of the dreaded discomfort zone. Always tell yourself that you’ll do better next time, and with practice, you’re bound to!

Incase you were wondering about how my story ended—my in laws were pretty cool. I do get teased (mostly by my husband) about the incident every once in a while, but thankfully that first impression was never a lasting one.

How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

I’ll never forget the day I met my in-laws for the first time. This was before my husband and I got married, so clearly, I was worried about that first impression. I may have been a little nervous (okay, maybe a lot) because most of what I remember is hazy.

…Except for one scary moment which, unfortunately, is still pretty clear.

So, we all go out for ice cream that was meant to be eaten on a plate with a spoon (don’t ask me why) and we’re all sitting inside the car. I tried to be polite and “pretend” to enjoy it—but since I really wasn’t, the ice-cream was melting faster than I could eat it and almost brimming over the edge of the plate. Everything was fine until someone, or something, hit my elbow and the plate (which I was trying to balance on my purse) tipped over.

You can probably imagine what happened next…

…Ice-cream inside my purse, ice-cream on my clothes, ice-cream on the car floor. It was a mess! And so was my very first impression.

I now realize that it was more my nervousness and inability to refuse the ice cream offer, move comfortably, or even eat sensibly that caused the accident! Had I been more “comfortable” in this uncomfortable situation, my first impression would have fared better.

So is there a way I could have prepared myself for this situation? Self-help gurus and experts would say there is. Here’s a list of ways people can practice being calm and relaxed at times they are ill at ease.

How to Practice Being Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations

1 ) Practice being around new people

Have you ever been to a career or networking event where you felt totally out of place? That’s your comfort zone telling you that you’re in the “danger zone” or experiencing discomfort. Instead of listening to that inner voice, challenge it and step beyond what you believe to be your comfort zone. Don’t stick around in a corner and leave with only a card or two in hand. Meet as many people as you can and start conversations out of the blue. What’s the worst that can happen?

You’ll say something wrong and they may move on to the next person. Sure, it may hurt your ego a little bit but you’re never going to see them again, are you? Once you get into the habit of doing this and learn all of the tricks (with practice), you’ll be able to extend that zone line beyond the normal boundaries every time you meet a new person.

2 ) Hang out with diverse thinkers

We tend to stick around with people we like or can easily relate to. However, if you want to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations, you should open yourself up to diverse people with diverse thoughts. Sure, it may be a little uncomfortable and first and you may even find yourself arguing with them every once in a while. But you’ll eventually realize that such people always challenge your assumption of what you believe to be true and ask tough questions you may never have thought of before.

A large part of learning and being ready for any challenge in life is accomplished by deliberately putting yourself in challenging situations and being around people who challenge you.

3 ) Do the unusual

What are you “used to” doing? Perhaps, you love taking a shower immediately in the morning and allowing that to wake you up. How about a daily dose of endorphins instead to wake you up and kick in that good mood? Rush yourself to work every day? Try waking up an hour earlier and making sure you fix yourself a scrumptious breakfast before you leave.

Used to dressing it your usual jeans and t-shirt every day? Why not try a formal attire and surprise everyone with your new look? We’re sure you get the idea by now! Try doing unusual things every now and then to move beyond your level of comfort.

4 ) Clear your head

One of the most obvious ways to react to challenging situations is to bring yourself at ease. Stress tends to cloud our minds and have us thinking several things at once. These thoughts usually lack clarity and disrupt our focus. Every time you experience this, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and clear you head.

Think only one thought at a time and prevent others thoughts from forcing their way in. This will allow you to think prudently and act immediately when you know a challenge is headed your way (in my case, the predictable challenge was the dangerous level of ice cream in my plate!).

5 ) Write about it

Not all of our uncomfortable situations are experienced on the spot or are temporary. Some of these uncomfortable situations are long-term, resulting in anxiety that piles and adds by the day. For instance, you could be nearing a deadline for a presentation in front of board members.

Writing about your anxiety and the pressure during this time will allow you to express your feelings, clear your head, and get a better picture of what lies ahead. This will also allow you to get organized and figure out what you have accomplished or should be doing to accomplish in the future.

6 ) Practice public speaking

Public speaking is probably one of the most awkward and uncomfortable situations we often face. In order to overcome the fear of public speaking, or fear of any other awkward situation for that matter, its best to face this fear head on until it simply stops being the boogie monster under our bed. We can assure you that it will do a lot to improve your confidence and the way act, react, and talk, and behave in uncomfortable situations!

7 ) Travel a lot

Now, this one is certainly not easy for everyone. But if you have the time, money, and courage to do so, being a passionate wanderer is certainly going to prepare for even the most unexpected of situations. Traveling teaches you a lot about adventure, taking risks, spontaneity, quick decision-making, and being comfortable with the “uncomfortable”. Hey, who says you always have to go beyond national borders to travel? There are so many new places, people, cultures, cuisines, and environments to explore within our own national borders.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable: I’ve experimented with this technique several times, and I found it works really well! It’s pretty simple. All you have to do is tell yourself, “Okay, I know I’m going to be facing an uncomfortable situation right now, but it is okay. Anyone would be uncomfortable if they were in my position. Just relax and be yourself”. Just try it, because it works like magic!

Final thoughts..

In the end, don’t stress over your mistakes when you’re finally out of the dreaded discomfort zone. Always tell yourself that you’ll do better next time, and with practice, you’re bound to!

Incase you were wondering about how my story ended—my in laws were pretty cool. I do get teased (mostly by my husband) about the incident every once in a while, but thankfully that first impression was never a lasting one.

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How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

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People such as self-help guru and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, financial minimalist Mr. Money Mustache, and author William B. Irvine have all touched upon the idea of Stoicism, a philosophy that I believe is the ultimate self-improvement philosophy.

First of all, allow me to debunk some common misconceptions about the Stoics. Contrary to the definition of a stoic as being emotionless, Stoicism actually raises the ultimate optimists!

Examples include how to remove all negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and disappointment. Another lesson to be learned from the Stoics is their belief that you should intentionally place yourself in situations of discomfort, in an effort to increase your comfort range as well as to make you value your moments of safety, making it easy for you to always consider yourself comfortable after enough practice.

Basically, Stoicism is a set of techniques to get the most fulfillment out of life and lower periods of sadness or discomfort.
Ever since I started applying Stoic principles in my life, I’ve felt an overwhelming amount of happiness and feelings of contentment with everything. I no longer take for granted the times when I am truly comfortable, such as when I am in the warm and safety of my own home. I also endure quite easily most things others would fine to be uncomfortable, for example, wearing t-shirts and shorts in less than 40 degrees (which is a huge deal to Arizonians for some reason).

Don’t you want to expand your boundaries of what you deem to be comfortable? Don’t you want to always be comfortable even when others are complaining about how bad they’ve got it? Well, here’s how, through the teachings of Stoicism.

Voluntary Discomfort

A famous Stoic was Lucius Annaeus Seneca, who was the tutor and advisor of emperor Nero. Seneca was a huge believer in intentionally putting yourself out in less than comfortable conditions several times a month. It wasn’t enough to just envision discomfort but you had to literally live through it.

He wanted to go with less food, wear less than ideal clothing, sleep somewhere other than his comfortable and warm bed. You had to become a part of a lesser lifestyle to truly learn how amazing it is when you were comfortable and it is something that I’ll do quite often.

While everyone around me is complaining about how cold it is or about how hungry they are I am content and comfortable with fewer layers of clothing and less food. I am just happy to be alive, as I have voluntarily endured much harsher situations.

This practice of voluntary discomfort that Stoicism does more than just make you appreciate comfort, it teaches you to have a high tolerance of that which is uncomfortable and you will always be content; it is something that you should practice at least a few times a month because you grow confident that if you can survive these minor periods of discomfort, you can also survive major discomforts as well.

Examples of Voluntary Discomfort

Maybe one day you forgot to eat breakfast and you would normally feel miserable, unable to go through the day as you slowly progress into an unbearable person for those around you. However, thanks to your periodic trials of self-inflicted poverty, you are well aware of the fact that even without an ideal amount of food, you are doing quite well and mild hunger does not bother you. You take comfort in your own well-being and you can let go of the discomfort.

Perhaps you can go out for a walk at night while it’s colder than you prefer. Did I mention you could do it without a jacket or sweater? Perhaps even wear shorts. If you are really feeling like testing your Stoic game then do it barefoot. You may get as creative as you want.

Are you used to long and hot showers that steam up your all your mirrors? How about taking an ice bath or setting the shower water to unbearably cold for one day out of every week? You’ll truly begin to appreciate the days where you use hotter water and you’ll gradually grow immune to the cold. Now all of a sudden, “cold” and rainy days are nothing to you as you find yourself comfortably walking in it without a rush.

Fast. No not speed, I mean voluntarily limiting the amount of food you eat. Don’t starve yourself to the point of unbearable but don’t overindulge yourself. Try practicing being content with less.

I’ve already mentioned this to you earlier but sleep on a harder bed or even sleep on the floor. If you genuinely dislike hammocks then try sleeping in one! Can you imagine how amazing your bed will feel after you’ve derived yourself of its warmth for an entire night? Without a doubt, over time you’ll become so good at this “game”, you’ll even be comfortable sleeping in a car during road trips without the slightest complaint.

Benefits of Practicing Voluntary Discomfort

Now that you know a bit more about Stoicism, you have to try out at least voluntary discomfort and begin to broaden your range of comfort while simultaneously learning to have greater appreciation for the things you take for granted. It’s an interesting philosophy that you can learn a lot from—more than just the subject of comfort. Go out there and voluntarily seek out discomfort, because one day, you will emerge as an individual who is content with any situation.

Wondering how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable? Uncomfortable situations happen to us all. Stuck in the lift during an awkward conversation? An argument you’re stuck in the middle of? Or something worse. Maybe you’ve just been summoned to the bosses office? Ugh, we’ve all been there, and it really takes a special person to be able to overcome awkward encounters .

We laugh them off, shrug them off and move past it. But the feeling sticks with you all day, and when you haven’t got your bestie at hand to calm you down you can feel super awkward. Not anymore, I’ll give you some tips that will allow you to deal with the situations properly, and not leave you feeling uncomfortable.

1. Relax and don’t overthink

Whatever the circumstance, don’t overthink it and try to relax. Depending on the situation, it may kick off your anxiety , and really change your mood, which affects your day. But don’t let this happen. Slow yourself down by focusing on your breathing, and don’t let your mind run. If you’ve been given tough feedback, take it in your stride. If you’re in the middle of an argument, say your point clearly and concisely and let it go.

2. Smile

Rise above the uncomfortable situations. If you’ve been giving criticism or tough feedback, ask yourself are you going to let what other people say about you change the way you think about yourself? Just smile, you can actually make yourself happier this way. Plus I use it as a device to turn an uncomfortable situation into a comical one. Yep, smiling really does help if you’re wondering how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. Be comfortable with yourself

If the thought of going to that party is making you feel uncomfortable, or similar social situations, don’t worry you’re not alone. It can be mentally tiring to feel uncomfortable all the time but it’s all about confidence. You know what confidence takes, you just need to truly know yourself, and be comfortable with it. Stay positive , I like to think of things that make me smile, and more importantly, things that are going to make me smile . Create memories that fill you with confidence by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone!

4. Take a step back

We all have off days. Have you ever been annoyed and hours later feel silly for taking it out on someone else? It happens. Try to understand what other people might have been through before the uncomfortable situation you’re in. You can handle anything!

5. Maintain your confidence

Confidence will help you overcome almost anything. The right amount of it will have you feeling better, and prepared for any uncomfortable situation you will have to face. Meeting the boyfriend’s parents…anxious and uncomfortable? Remain confident. You’re there for a reason. If you’re scared people won’t like you, tell yourself things that you think they will like about you. Be confident and positive, it really is the perfect recipe.

Armed with confidence, you can get through just about anything!

Public speaking is bound to uncomfortable at times. Things happen. Audiences happen. You will make mistakes. All these lead to psychological discomfort. My last post suggested that you get comfortable getting uncomfortable so you can react in the best was possible.

That post introduced a method suggested by Kevin Getch; Go into a crowded coffee shop, setup, and present. Definitely going to be a challenge of embarrassment and social discomfort; it’s also probably a bit to much for most of us.

This post presents ways you can practice dealing with psychological discomfort, training to be more comfortable being uncomfortable. I’ve ordered them approximately in an order from ‘easiest’ to most challenging. However, there are ways to scale up the challenge in many of the introduced methods, making them potential valid for most.

Starting from scared

  • Speak up in a meeting: this one is here for those that are very self-conscious. If speaking up in a meeting makes you uncomfortable, this is a good place to start. With the size and importance of the meeting, the challenge goes up.
  • Introduce yourself: take the initiative and introduce yourself. Simple is better: “Hi I’m ____”.
    • random persons: the more the situation makes this random, generally the more challenging this is. At a social event or mixer, introducing yourself is natural, even if you don’t feel natural doing it. Introducing yourself to a random person in a shop or on the bus is less usual and will be more uncomfortable.
    • social event/mixer: set yourself a goal on how many people you’ll introduce yourself too. The first time it might be 1. Next time 3. Then 10, etc.
    • important person: the importance of the person is subjective, i.e. what value you put on the person. If it is someone you feel is important, this is a step up in difficulty.
  • Public Speaking in friendly settings: Find friendly controlled places to speak. The supportive nature should help you deal with anything that comes up. A good option here is VR, like our product.

Getting comfortable

  • Public Speaking: standard engagements of public speaking will, over time, provide opportunities to work on this as things happen. The drawback is you have very little control.
  • Extemporary Speaking: is when the topic of your talk is known to you only a short time beforehand, e.g. 30 seconds. This has two points, one is to get you to think on your feet, quickly organize your thoughts and how to present. The other part is though that it is going to be uncomfortable.
    • Speaking clubs and even training courses often require/provide opportunities to do this, e.g. Toastmaster’s Table Topics.
    • Have someone else select a random topic. Start Virtual Orator. When the environment comes up, go!
    • Slide Roulette: Present with someone else’s/random slides. You have to react to each slide as they come, providing nearly guaranteed embarrassment. Try this out in Virtual Orator, with friends, or create an event.
  • Approach a group of people to introduce yourself/join in. This is a big psychological challenge for many people.
    • open group: start with a group who’s arrangement is open, i.e. there is space in the circle where you can fit in. Join. When there is a pause in the conversation, introduce yourself or join in. Another cue is when you get eye contact from the others.
    • closed group: I’ve seen many people do this. I’m not always sure it’s a good idea, as it probably leaves a certain impression. You are somewhat of an invader, so the social pressure should be uncomfortable.
  • Virtual social space presentation. This is a easier variation of the coffee shop presentation below. Swap out the coffee shop for a virtual space that include other real people; Give your talk in VR social gathering space. While you know real people are hearing you, you know you are mostly anonymous.
  • Dance in a public space. The embarrassment level is dependent here on how random your dancing seems, your own ability (or how you judge it), and the number of people watching.

Crush all doubt

  • Open Mic: participant in an open mic event. Coffee shops sometimes hold these.
  • Coffee Shop presentation: Randomly set up in a coffee shop and give your presentation as if it was real. Idea by Kevin Getch.
  • SoapBox/Speaker’s Corner: the age old version of the above. Set up and present on the street. Some cities have specific spaces where this is allowed. As the name implies, bring a box, step up and present.

Tangential Options

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a popular concept at the moment, particularly in the realm of physical activity. I find these to be quite different things personally, but there is certainly cross-over. Pushing yourself through the physical discomfort is an act of mental toughness. Developing that ability is bound to help you be able to push through psychological discomfort.

Go Practice being Uncomfortable

No matter your level of speaking confidence, situations that typically lead to discomfort are bound to happen. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable will allow you to react to these situations in the best possible way. I’ve presented an array of ideas on how you can get experience being in uncomfortable situations. Find one that fits your current level and embarrass yourself for your own good.

Got ideas for other useful uncomfortable situations? Share them with us on social media or below. I’ll update this post with the best ideas.

Almost every woman we know, including ourselves have been exposed to uncomfortable situations, sexual harassment and often terrifying experiences, just by leaving our house everyday, crossing the street or using public transportation, among many other things. We’ve been hearing of countless incidents and tragic crimes recently on social media and it has sparked a conversation of what men can do to help and of course what we can all do to help others, in general, and in these situations when we are present or happen to witness them.

Although what we’re exposed to as women has made us very strong and resilient, it is still important and crucial for men in our society to understand the importance in their role of educating themselves, supporting women and standing up to predators, as we all should. Silence and ignorance will not help create change.

So we decided to ask women on our Instagram Stories, “What has someone done to make you feel safe in an uncomfortable situation?” We were inspired and empowered by the responses, narrating situations where men reacted and helped get them out of an unsafe situation, along with what they would want from people around, in order to feel more safe and supported. We thought this would be a good reminder and guide for men, as well as so many of us on how they can help a friend, a partner and of course a stranger.

1. Take a stand and take action

“A friend of mine kicked a man out of their house after he tried to sexually harass me at a party.”

This reaction should be a given from anyone in any situation like this, happening to anyone. Unfortunately, sometimes people defend the harasser, especially if they know them, or when the woman decides to take a tough stance or report it to the police. This can be very problematic and can cause many women to withdraw from speaking out.

2. Understand what I’m going through

“All I ask is for him to accept my reaction and not to make me feel like i’m overreacting.”

“I think the most important thing a man should do is to understand my feelings and worries when it comes to situations like these.”

More than one girl agreed on how they need to feel support and understanding towards their feelings when she’s exposed to an unsafe situation like this. We do not need the advice, we need people to educate themselves and understand the difficulties we go through on a daily basis. Blaming the woman, doubting her, or saying she’s overreacting is not acceptable. Unfortunate so many people around us do this and it is important for them to stop, listen and work hard towards understanding. Imagine what it would feel like if you constantly feel unsafe and that at any moment you could be a victim to something horrific, traumatic and maybe even fatal.

3. Making women feel safe

“When I’m walking in the street, I get worried and anxious when a guy is walking behind me, and I appreciate when instead they come forward and walk in front of me so that I don’t feel like someone’s following me.”

There are some really simple things that men can do that could really help with a women’s comfort and feeling of safety. For example, leaving a narrow space so she can pass through comfortably, or avoiding walking behind her so she doesn’t get anxious. You can even cross to the other side of the street. Also another thing that both men and women can do is that when they see a women or girl looking scared, stuck or uncomfortable during a conversation with a stranger in public, you can walk up and pretend to be a friend or family member to help her out of this situation, and so the guy can leave her alone.

4. Supporting a woman’s freedom

“I was smoking a cigarette in the car with one of my friends, and a pickup truck with a lot of men in the back was in front and they could see us. They started clapping and making gestures at me. My friend drove away and tried to keep us away form them so I wouldn’t feel comfortable.”

We live in a society that unfortunately still sees a ‘woman’ smoking as something out of the ordinary and ‘not right’. Our actions are constantly judged to the point where you could be called out for it or harassed in public. So instead of saying “You should probably not smoke in public,” “Are you sure you want to take your bike?,” or “Why not wear something a little less revealing,” support her freedom, stand up for her and don’t fault her for doing something a million men do, whatever that thing is.

5. Everyone needs moral support

“Sometimes we need simple words or actions, like “I understand how hard it must be for you” or even a phone call.”

Again a lot of us developed a lot of strength and the power to try and deal as much as we can with this lack of safety we constantly feel, but EVERYONE in needs moral support and kindness, not only but especially after going through something this hard. We all through tough times, both men and women and we all get moments of sadness, fear and vulnerability. They do not make us weak, on the contrary, they help grow stronger. It is important to remember that the simplest words and gestures of support can make the biggest difference in how we feel.

6. Equality

“I have been subjected to a lot of injustice in my work field, just because I’m woman. I have a lot of male competitors, who used to criticize my work or present it in the names of other people. My manager helped handle this unfairness and took a tough stance against them.”

There are still a lot of men who do not believe in equality between men and women, especially in the work field. Women are often criticized and discriminated against just for being female. For change to happen, every man must start with himself, support the women he works with, speak up when he witness any forms of discrimination and take any action he can.

Overcome anxiety and worry by shifting your relationship to fear and the unknown

If my 23+ years of studying yoga and meditation have taught me anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter one bit what you do on the mat (or cushion). The ability to do a handstand does not make you a yogi, and the inclination to attend silent retreats does not make you at one with the world. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less if someone can do a scorpion variation, or sit in lotus for hours on end, if when they come away from their practice, they haven’t taken those valuable lessons of flexibility, strength, compassion and understanding off the mat and into everyday life.

And one of the most valuable lessons yoga and meditation have taught me is the importance of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean being an idiot, and injuring yourself by forcing your body into a posture it’s not ready for (although, obviously, I’ve been there too). It means using a compassionate and inquisitive approach to seek out your personal limits, and then looking beyond them, to explore what is on the other side of fear. Yes physically on the mat, but more importantly, in your life off it.

Now more than ever, we need to look at the things that make us uncomfortable. We must be willing to challenge ourselves, to challenge our preconceptions and our unconscious thoughts and behaviours, to seek out people and circumstances that don’t feel easy. To confront the dark places (both internal and external) that we instinctively want to shy away from. To step into the unknown.

Because when you hide from the tough issues, when you play safe, when you steer clear of risk when you avoid difficult conversations at home and at work, you fail to live life fully. You fail to challenge yourself (or others) to grow.

We must be willing to change our relationship to change, fear and the unknown. Because by stepping into these places, is how we thrive and progress as people and as societies.

The Stoic philosophers believed that you should intentionally place yourself in situations of discomfort, in an effort to increase your comfort range as well as to make you value your moments of safety, making it easy for you to always consider yourself comfortable after enough practice.

So let’s get uncomfortable…

Lily’s 5 Top Tips for Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable and Embracing Change:

  1. When experiencing feelings of discomfort, don’t run away from them. Instead, allow yourself to (compassionately) embrace whatever comes up and acknowledge that it is a natural human reaction. Get curious, and relax your resistance – turn towards, rather than away from, what’s arising within.
  2. Become aware of the stories that you are telling yourself both about your own life, and about others’. Are they true? Do you need to challenge some of the thoughts in order to truly grow as a person? Are you allowing for change?
  3. Are you used to long, hot showers? Try setting the water to unbearably cold for the last 15 seconds. If nothing else, it’ll wake you up.
  4. Try Yin yoga. At first, you’ll find you desperately want to move, so it’s a good starting place to train yourself to be comfortable with discomfort and staying still.
  5. Try to always reframe discomfort (mental or physical) as a positive source for growth and get curious in the face of the unknown.

How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

Lily Silverton is a mindset coach, wellbeing teacher, speaker, journalist and the host of “Priorities” podcast with over 20 years of meditation and yoga experience. She uses the simple tools of breathwork, bodywork, meditation, mindfulness, coaching, and humour to help people and organisations realign their priorities, remedy their minds and transform their lives.

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How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

When I started learning web development, and especially since getting my first job, feeling uncomfortable has become a bit of a recurring theme.

I’m going to be honest, at first, it was a real struggle. Every time I would find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I would start second guessing myself — Is web development really for me? Maybe I’m just not intelligent enough? Will I ever be any good? Will I ever learn enough to actually get a job and get paid for this?

I’m sure many of you can relate.

If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done

Maybe you have been learning to code for a while but still don’t feel confident enough to apply for any developer jobs. You might not feel you are ready yet. You might fear rejection. Whatever the reason, that lack of self confidence will make you feel uncomfortable. And you’re not alone. We would all feel the same in that situation.

However, it’s the people who suck it up, apply for every job they can, contact companies asking for work, and face potential rejection after rejection who will win.

Hell, you might not be ready yet and you might not land your dream job straight away. But, by putting yourself out there — by stepping out of your comfort zone — you win. You win! You get the interview practice, the experience and you get vital feedback on where you need to improve.

At the end of the day, would you rather be someone who has been learning to code for 18 months, but hasn’t even started applying for jobs, because you don’t feel comfortable or ready yet?

Or would you rather be the person who’s been learning to code for 6 months, and starts applying for jobs? You might feel uncomfortable and maybe it takes you another 6 months to land a job, but 12 months after first opening a text editor and you are working in your dream career? Believe me, this can happen.

The uncomfortable feeling wont stop or get any easier once you get a job

I hate JavaScript. (Well, maybe hate is a strong word, but I’m not its biggest fan). Why? — Because it’s hard. I find it difficult.

I’m a fairly confident developer, but sometimes I find myself faced with a task or project, and the temptation is to reach for a technology that I feel comfortable with, rather than building with something new and challenging.

I might know that React will produce a better end product, but my initial reaction is that I don’t want to be in that uncomfortable situation where I don’t know what I’m doing and I have to reach for the documentation every 30 seconds.

However, by taking this approach, I do myself a disservice. I’m hindering my own learning, development and progression. I’m ultimately inhibiting my own success.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

What I have to tell myself in these situations is that whilst I might be uncomfortable. This is actually an opportunity. An opportunity to try new things, learn a new skill or further my career.

So…What’s the key to continued success?

Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable — Embrace it

When an opportunity presents itself you have to take it. You have to step out of your comfort zone.

At the end of the day, this is what web development is. A complex, constantly evolving industry where you can never know everything and you will repeatedly be faced with situations where you are made to feel uncomfortable doing something you haven’t done before. That’s the price of progression.

As a Web Developer, and in life in general, feeling uncomfortable is just something you have to get used to.

You cannot let the ‘fear’ of feeling uncomfortable dictate your life. If you do, it will limit what you are able to do and how much you are able to achieve.

Being in your comfort zone is synonymous with repetition. While repetition is easy, it’s also boring and un-motivating. If, however, you are striving for something more, want to get out of a rut, if you are searching for success, then you need to get out of your comfort zone. Doing that is what separates happy, passionate, successful people from those that are comfortable and bored.

Once you learn to embrace the fear you will be astounded by the progress that you will make, both within your web development career and also personally.

Success is not just about what you have done, it’s about what you inspire others to do.

Recently I watched a Ted talk, by @luvvie titled ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’. I highly recommend it!

Now this talk isn’t about tech or web development, but last night, while I was reading this article, the parallel between the talk and web development hit me.

One of the most important things for success in life, and web development, is pushing your boundaries and limits. What’s also important is that when you do step out of your comfort zone and do what make’s you feel uncomfortable, this in turn inspires similar change and inspiration for others to do the same.

This embodies what the whole freeCodeCamp community is about. By being part of a community, sharing your story and your successes, you inspire others to do the same.

You might have struggled to complete the Front-end certificate. You might have had periods where you felt uncomfortable and wanted to quit. But by pushing through, by becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, and reaching that milestone, not only do you achieve you own success, you also motivate others that are struggling or feeling like giving up.

This is why it’s important to give back to the community. Share your projects, share your success, encourage fellow campers in the forums or on social media. Your success is freeCodeCamp’s success.

Step out of your comfort zone, get comfortable being uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us!

As Luvvie describes it — Be the domino.

How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

Check out this post by Sam Williams if you want to create your own ‘follow me’ gif! 🙂

Also, I am always happy to hear from like minded people, so feel free to say hello on Twitter.

If this article was helpful, tweet it.

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How to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations

“If I am comfortable, then I am part of the problem.” This is a quote that has stuck with David Taylor, CEO of P&G ever since he first moved to Cincinnati (where P&G is headquartered). Taylor attributes his success to his willingness to take risks and embrace uncomfortable situations.

In an article that Taylor published on LinkedIn, he encouraged all to grasp uncertainty by the horns and be intentional about seeking out challenging work. In his eyes, the work that makes us nervous is key to our continued growth. He also issued a warning — don’t let yourself get too comfortable.

“When we’re comfortable, we start to get relaxed. We accept things the way they are, and we do not feel motivated to change. I’d go so far as to argue that if you’re not a little uncomfortable, you’re probably not being challenged enough. To be at our best, each of us needs to challenge ourselves whenever we start feeling comfortable.”

If we’re not careful, comfort can lead to complacency, and nothing will stifle innovation and hinder career progression faster than idleness.

Taylor was braver than most. He took big promotions, moved four times in nine years and even left his job as a successful plant manager to learn a new area of the business.

That level of discomfort may be too much too fast for most. Here are a few simple ways to build up your stamina:

Little by little.

Start small and work your way up.

I am a terrible reader. Literally, I would drink a pot of coffee and still fall asleep 15 minutes after cracking a book. But, reading is critical to my development as a professional and a columnist. Rather than breaking into a cold sweat thinking about reading a whole chapter, I forced myself to spend just 10 minutes reading every day. Everyone can endure something for 10 minutes, right?

I’m not going to lie, it was brutal at first. But, as you can imagine, every time I did it, it became easier and easier. It reminded me of a great quote by author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, “Consistency trumps intensity.”

Brushing your teeth for 10 hours once a month won’t prevent you from getting cavities. It takes small, consistent one-minute rituals twice a day — same goes for anything else.

I’m happy to say that I can now sit down and read for 11 minutes. Joking aside, I now have a goal to read 30 books in 2018.

Pick something that’s not so scary.

Taylor made major moves. At one point, he almost started his career all over again — from engineering and plant management to brand management.

Rather than diving straight into the deep end (with a strong undertow), try something that’s less intimidating.

Think of handling discomfort like learning how to dance. First, you check out some YouTube videos on how to moonwalk. Then, you try it a few times when no one is looking. You eventually graduate to asking friends to show you their moves, and before you know it, you bust out a massive glide at your wedding — hypothetically speaking.

Start with something that you’re comfortable being uncomfortable with and work on conditioning yourself to handle distress.

Practice emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the process of recognizing your emotions, practicing self-awareness, and effectively managing your feelings to ensure appropriate behavior.

Specific to discomfort, EQ is recognizing thoughts of fear, anxiousness, or doubt as “normal” and putting them into perspective. If not, your knee-jerk reaction will take over and you’ll immediately avoid opportunities for the mere fact that they’re uncomfortable. (For some reason, the saying “check yourself before you wreck yourself” just popped into my head.)

Learn to acknowledge emotions as emotions and not as viable reasons to avoid challenging situations. It will be scary at first, but your future, more accomplished, self will thank you.

I’ll leave you with a final thought from Taylor. “There’s a big space between uncomfortable enough and too uncomfortable, and that’s where growth and innovation thrive.”