Get uncomfortable

We’ve become reliant on technology to make ourselves comfortable. More than anything in life, I want to be secure and comfortable. It must come from the primal part of my brain, and those subconscious thoughts are hard to quiet down. If my AC is set two degrees higher than normal, I will notice it and immediately correct it.

In the short run, it’s great to feel comfortable, but in the long run, I know it will hurt me. Each day I’m comfortable and warm, I lose my ability to be uncomfortable and cold by even just a tiny bit. I’m not used to being stressed out at work, so when I do get stressed out, it gets really bad. My muscle memory for dealing with stress has atrophied.

To correct this, I try to make myself uncomfortable and purposely make my life harder. Crazy, right? I know I’m still far away from being able to survive a harsh winter in the woods using only a cast iron pan and a hatchet, but the next time the air conditioner is on the fritz, it’s not as big of a deal. I can just shrug it off and move on.

If you practice making yourself uncomfortable, you’ll build up a resistance to it. You’ll be able to handle more difficult situations and respond better under stress.

Here are a few things you can do to make yourself uncomfortable:

  • After a relaxing warm shower, turn the faucet to the ice crystal setting and see how long you can stand under the frigid water. This will wake you up more than a cup of coffee.
  • Turn off your air conditioning for a couple days. When it’s between 60 and 80 degrees outside, turn off your house’s heating and cooling and open all of the windows. Get some fresh air in your lungs.
  • Roll down the windows in your car and cruise. Forget the you even have climate control for a minute.
  • Go camping. Cook over an open fire. Bundle up in a sleeping bag and wake up with condensation covering the inside of your tent.
  • Completely turn off your phone. But what if someone calls and it’s an emergency? Well, that isn’t going to happen. How many times has it happened in the past? Once, maybe twice in 10 years. Severe that constant connection for once.
  • Unplug your wireless router. Have internet free evenings where you play a game or cook a nice meal, without the distraction of Facebook notifications and email alerts.
  • Skip a meal. You won’t starve and the next meal will taste even better.
  • Skip the water bottle for a day. We all know how important water is, but see how your body reacts to not being flush with it throughout the day. Still drink water, just not as much.
  • Travel to a new place. Drive to a small town around where you live that you’ve never been and eat in a dive bar.
  • Try a type of food you’d never ordinarily try. Thai food didn’t seem appetizing to me, but once I tried it, I was hooked.
  • Get your hands dirty. Plant something in your garden, or build something with your hands.
  • Get sweaty. Weed your garden or volunteer to cleanup a nearby park. Go for a long run in the afternoon sun.
  • Cut the power to your house for a day. Learn to live without lights and the refrigerator. Next time a storm rolls through your town and knocks out power, you’ll be much better prepared.
  • Don’t get rid of that spider in your bedroom. It won’t hurt you and will actually get rid of the other insects. However, you do have to live with knowing that the spider could be watching your every move.

I hope you try a few of these things and it makes your life a little bit worse. 🙂