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About Everything Wiki » Life » How the ability to accept discomfort helps to make life better

How the ability to accept discomfort helps to make life better

15 Jan 2024, 00:00, parser
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Accepting the pain and torment that we inevitably face in life often seems like a punishment to us. However, the authors of a number of scientific articles note E. K. Lindsay, J. D. Creswell. Mindfulness, acceptance, and emotion regulation: Perspectives from Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT) / Current Opinion in Psychology that the experience of coming face to face with discomfort and unpleasant emotions has advantages. And it will only benefit us all if we find ways to deal with stress and suffering, especially in circumstances beyond our control and influence.

Why is it important to accept discomfort

I must say right away that the importance of the ability to accept discomfort does not mean that you should run as fast as you can towards difficult and dangerous situations. Nevertheless, when we overcome difficulties and move forward in difficult circumstances, we acquire new knowledge. Like athletes who are forced by their coaches to leave their comfort zone in order to achieve better results.

A series of experiments involving more than 2,000 people showed K. Woolley, A. Fishbach. Motivating personal growth by seeking discomfort / Psychological Science that participants who were motivated to put themselves in awkward and uncomfortable situations in various fields, such as going to improv classes for greater self-confidence or studying opposing political views, observed tangible personal growth.

According to another study E. C. Willroth, G. Young, et al. Judging emotions as good or bad: Individual differences and associations with psychological health / Emotion , people who calmly look into the eyes of their negative emotions, such as sadness or anger, feel more satisfied, worry less and have fewer symptoms of depression than people who harshly condemn themselves for unpleasant feelings. These results confirm the assumption that we can learn important lessons for ourselves if we learn to calmly and openly perceive our emotions and thoughts and treat them with curiosity.

How to develop the ability to accept discomfort

One of the best ways is meditation, and especially the part of it that promotes equanimity and impartiality. Meditation practices in general help us focus on the present moment while maintaining openness and receptivity. In order to develop an unflappable attitude to any vicissitudes of fate, you can voice uncomfortable sensations in your body in an indifferent voice during meditation and welcome negative emotions by saying "yes" out loud every time you notice them.

The effectiveness of this approach was tested during a study involving 153 stressed volunteers. One part of them was taught only the basic skills of mindfulness meditation, that is, just to recognize the experience, and the other was also taught to accept it and develop an unflappable attitude towards it. After 14 days of training, the second group had E. K. Lindsay, S. Young, et al. Acceptance lowers stress reactivity: Dismantling mindfulness training in a randomized controlled trial / Psychoneuroendocrinology a weaker reaction to biological stress when they were asked to make a difficult speech or solve mathematical problems in front of experts in white lab coats. These participants also had lower blood pressure and hormonal stress levels.

In addition, after the training, the participants who did exercises to develop equanimity noted E. K. Lindsay, B. Chin, et al. How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials / Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that they experienced more positive emotions, felt better during the day and communicated with others more meaningfully. It all looks as if the ability to accept experiences impartially changes the emotional response to stress, helping people to appreciate the small positive moments of everyday life more and become more inquisitive and open to communicating with others.

The power of acceptance is confirmed by another study, during which scientists observed how 578 people experience isolation and psychological stress during the coronavirus pandemic. His results showed L. M. Mann, B. R. Walker. The role of equanimity in mediating the relationship between psychological distress and social isolation during COVID‑19 / Journal of Affective Disorders that the degree of loneliness that the participants then experienced predicted the appearance of depression, anxiety and stress. However, this effect could be controlled through acceptance and equanimity. In particular, those who agreed with the statement "I feel peace of mind no matter what happens in my life" also said that they experience less psychological stress, despite isolation. In other words, an unbiased acceptance of experience can protect us, preventing us from developing a sense of social disconnection, which can lead to mental disorder.

In this way, acceptance helps to survive periods of suffering that we all inevitably face at some stage of life. And each of us can become more psychologically stable by developing the ability to accept discomfort here and now with equanimity.

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