Have you heard the stories of lottery winners who win multi-million dollar prizes but wind up back to their “pre-winning” financial life in a few short years? How is that possible, you ask? Or the person who loses the a large amount of weight, multiple times over but always returns to the same weight eventually. A few years ago, they labelled this “the set point”. But we’re not really sure what that is. Or the cycle of committing to exercising regularly, that starts with great gusto but tends to taper down, and then gets kick-started again, only to diminish again…you’re getting the picture!
Humans have several built in thermostats- some of which are essential to our survival- called our homeostasis systems, that regulate us to a sustainable level. By ensure there’s not too much or not too little of something, we are kept alive. Even our brains have this regulation by ensuring that at the first sign of fear and doubt that we find some sort of stabilizing mechanism to return to “normal” quickly through chemical signals.
With these internal thermostats, if temporarily, the heat rises( in the form of doubt or stress) systems kick in quickly to bring us back to comfort. I don’t know about you but whenever I’ve made a significant change in life (that’s lasted) I’ve had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable because when this unconscious mechanism of temperature control activates, we quickly slip back into the status quo if we aren’t watching. That’s how the money quickly disappears (when you’re only used to not having any you might spend it really quickly because it feels unsafe to have so much around…) or the weight quickly comes back (because the attention people are giving to your new physique make you a little nervous, perhaps) or the ease of skipping a workout takes over.
Being uncomfortable, in my mind at least, means standing in the presence of some sort of fear that we choose to acknowledge but don’t give any “air time” to. Is there a situation in your life where you’ve allowed fear to share your space without listening to it’s whining, like a child who’s stuck in a rant but you’ve chosen to tune them out to discourage the behavior…
How long did it take, before it wasn’t difficult to be that uncomfortable any longer? Could you go there again? Would you be willing to go there every day, just a little, if you knew the long range outcome would be nothing short of amazing? Do you have a story where you stuck with the discomfort and it paid off immeasurably? If so, quite likely your story would inspire others because these stories are so easy for us to relate to- you ALL have a story like this one, I’m SURE…
When I was 16, I decided it was time to stop being afraid of hospitals. This is a bit of a strange fear and to this day, I cannot tell you why, but it would cause me extreme stress just walking inside a hospital. I decided that in order to overcome this fear, I would be a volunteer at the University of Alberta Hospital and get rid of this silly “fear”. I secretly hoped they’d assign me to the gift shop but instead I was posted to the spinal cord rehabilitation unit for patients recovering from life-altering injuries. Some were even my own age or only slightly older. In particular, I remember a rodeo rider who was in his twenties who fearlessly popped wheelies in his wheelchair down the long hallways while I held my breath. I dreaded my shifts. I watched the clock endlessly. I survived, essentially. But over the months, I started to not hate my “hospital” day so much. Sometimes, I could feel myself let go a little and laugh a little more while I was there. At that time, I had never considered being a physiotherapist, I mean that might involve having to WORK in one of these scary places!!! Little did I know at that time that I was opening the door for my career. Such a minor little “discomfort” I had to overcome to start a really cool life!
Got a story you would like to share? Email it to me and I’ll share it (anonymously if you like) to the group. Hey, I bet the idea of posting your story probably makes some of you a little uncomfortable already. GOOD! Start writing. I look forward to having a stuffed email inbox!