***Note: The following is an edited audio transcript from the above video***
Hey, everyone! Today, let's dive into the most impactful philosophy you can adopt for long-term benefits in health, happiness, and practically every aspect of your life. It's called embracing discomfort. And no, I'm not just talking about pain – though I might suggest leaning into that in certain situations. I'm talking about embracing stress, both in your body and your mind.
The Difference Between Discomfort and Pain
Let's clarify what I mean by discomfort. It's not just aches and pains; it's the little stressors that make you squirm, both physically and mentally. Even something as fundamental as gravity is a stressor, because gravity puts strain on your body, which forces your body to adapt and grow. In response to the stress of gravity, your bones grow stronger and more resilient, therefore allowing you to withstand other stressors in life (so that you don't break a bone every time you accidentally run into something). So, discomfort is not always bad – it's a catalyst for growth.
Two Types of Stress: Physical and Psychological
Now, there are two main types of stress: psychological and physical. We're all familiar with the overwhelming feeling of psychological stress – the never-ending to-do list or that comment from your coworker that still bugs you. But on the other hand, physical stress is not something we think about too often. But physical stress is what our bodies have evolved to deal with.
The Cortisol Connection
Cortisol, the infamous stress hormone, is designed for physical stress – the kind with an end in sight. It shuts down non-essential processes like digestion and immunity to prepare for the impending danger. But here's the catch: it wasn't designed for prolonged psychological stress. When we subject ourselves to long-term stress, be it physical or psychological, cortisol wreaks havoc on our bodies.
The Goldilocks Principle: Finding the Sweet Spot
Too much stress, for too long, triggers a harmful stress response. It's like filling a coffee cup – a little cortisol is good, but too much spills over and causes damage. We need to find the sweet spot, the right amount of stress that challenges us without overwhelming us.
Balancing Act: Too Little vs. Too Much Stress
Finding the right amount of stress is like a Goldilocks principle for both physical and psychological aspects. Too little stress leads to boredom and lack of motivation, while too much can result in injuries or burnout. Just the right amount fuels growth, productivity, and a positive mindset.
The Psychology of Discomfort
Embracing physical discomfort not only trains your body but also strengthens your mind. It teaches your brain that you can handle stress, making psychological stressors more manageable. By pushing your physical limits, you gain a sense of control over your life.
Practical Steps to Embrace Discomfort
In our modern, comfortable lives, we often lack the discomfort our ancestors faced. To reintroduce it, try going outside, and embracing different weather conditions. Whether it's biking, running, or just walking a mile every day, expose yourself to the elements. Cold water immersion and saunas are other accessible ways to introduce controlled stress. Coldwater exposure has benefits from fat loss to improved mental resilience.
The Detoxifying Benefits of Discomfort
Coldwater immersion and saunas enhance detoxification processes in the body. They stimulate the immune system, trigger the release of growth hormones, and even induce a process called autophagy, where the body replaces old cells with new, healthier ones.
Transforming Challenges into Opportunities
Embracing discomfort changes your perspective on challenges. Instead of viewing demanding tasks as threats, see them as opportunities to overcome, to master. Gradually increasing your exposure to stressors builds confidence, making you a master, not a victim, of stress.
So, the next time you feel a bit uncomfortable, lean into the challenge. Embrace the discomfort, and track how it makes you feel – both immediately and in the days that follow. This mindset shift could be the key to unlocking your full potential.
Remember, in the face of discomfort, you're not a victim; you're a master. Go out there and get it. Until next time, go Get Gooder!
Written by Parker Hewes, a chiropractor, author, American Ninja Warrior, and serial adventurer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Parker believes learning and growing are the keys to living a full life. He started Getting Gooder to help others learn and grow, so they can create the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest lives imaginable.
Parker also knows that our ideal life gets even better when we have others to share it with. So, keep following Parker and the Getting Gooder community as we build our ideal, together.