There’s a subtle difference between pain and discomfort, and we discussed it on the STRIVENT Weekend Adventure Hike today while trekking along the Upper Meadow Trail 8 mile loop in the Rancho San Antonio Park.
Pain is real. Pain weakens the integrity of a structure. For instance, putting pressure on bones or ripping tendons. This is real pain that can do long term damage that needs to cease immediately to prevent injury.
Discomfort is psychological though. Discomfort is the body responding to the situation in a slightly negative manner because it has left equilibrium and wishes to return. This is the quivering of muscles, the dryness of mouth, the sweat burning in the eyes, and so on. Discomfort is essentially experiencing something new that the body hasn’t adjusted to yet.
Discomfort is growth.
All growth is by nature, uncomfortable. Even the physical body is in pain as it grows. Think about the expression ‘growing pains’. From a personal development perspective, being outside of your comfort zone involves taking calculated risks and in some way embracing yourself for failure as you try and stretch your Self for what it is you wish to accomplish or bring into your life.
On the hike today, it became very apparent that as the conversation went on, we had gone a great distance in what seemed like the blink of an eye. However, that was only possible as we continued putting one foot in front of the other, taking the hike One Step at a Time.
Larger grade steep hills would show up out of nowhere, and we stuck to our practice: One Step at a Time. Low and behold, we were at the top of the hard part! Despite the discomfort that was associated with having to dig in and adjust our pace to climb to the top of the hill, we pushed through the discomfort and topped out!
These steep hills show up in our lives all the time without warning: a big project from the boss, a random car payment, the loss of a loved one, etc. and so many people abandon their practices when times get tough. But, if we can stick to our tried and true methods, we can get through the discomfort and realize that life will return to equilibrium again.
One Step at a Time.
There are some fundamental real life practices that are the equivalent of our hiking “One Step at a Time” and they are essential for anyone wishing to live life at their highest potential on a day-to-day basis. They’re nothing special, and they’re no secret.
They look a little differently for each of us, but some of the keystone practices include:
Move your body
Eat healthy foods
Get enough Sleep
Many of us stick to these practices when things are nice and easy in our lives, and then we abandon them as soon as we get busy, our stress levels rise and things heat up. However, that’s exactly when we need to prioritize these activities.
One Step at a Time. Stick to your practices. You’ll get through the discomfort.