Rhonda Britten, a mentor of mine and author of the book Fearless Living, says, “When you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, that’s self-mastery.” The moment I heard Rhonda make that statement it became a life goal, a new practice. A few years later I discovered mindfulness and understood the power of the practice of mindfulness for helping me move toward that goal.
Fear and avoidance of discomfort can lead to a variety of what I call the “too much behaviors.” Eating too much, drinking too much, working too much, shopping too much are all examples of this. The beauty of mindfulness is that it teaches a gentle acceptance of whatever comes, with an understanding that everything in life is impermanent.
When I teach mindful eating introductory workshops, I always ask what people eat over, other than hunger. Answers may vary, but boredom and anxiety are always on the list. Becoming comfortable with discomfort means knowing anxiety and boredom will pass. Both boredom and anxiety are feelings we tend to move away from and eating creates a temporary distraction. A mindfulness practice not only allows one to be more aware of a moment to moment experience, but also more accepting of that experience.
The next time you notice yourself standing in front of the refrigerator or taking another pass at the appetizer table, take a few breaths where you stand. Perhaps notice what you are feeling, what you are experiencing in your body, and if your mind is busy or calm. With practice it only takes a moment to check in with yourself. Focus on where you feel your breath, and perhaps ask what you need at that moment.
I am a marriage and family therapist and mindfulness and mindful eating teacher. My passion is helping others to heal their relationship with themselves, their bodies, food and other people.