I’ve had to visit the dentist a few times in the past two weeks.
At the first of these visits, the dental hygienist imitated me, clenching her fists and squeezing her eyes shut, in an effort to show me what I looked like, as a way to calm me down. Her doing this made me realize that not only was I clenching my fists and squeezing my eyes closed, but I was breathing in a shallow way, and my shoulders took a nice ride up my back, getting really close to my ears.
Step 1: Notice where your mind and body is at
I took note of the overall tightness that was building up in my breath and body. Closing my eyes gently, I placed my hands on my belly to help me become aware of my breath, rhythmically moving in and out of me. As I started to do this I felt my shoulders slide down my back and away from my ears.
Step 2: Come to see that you have a choice in your mode of transportation through discomfort
Every few minutes I found my body tightening up again, as thoughts of the “I don’t want to be here” nature passed through my mind. To which I answered with deep breaths and words of encouragement.
Step 3: Keep reminding yourself that you have this choice
At the following appointment, I found that it was a little easier to relax my body and breath through the discomfort. And it is my hope that this work will help me get through uncomfortable situations with a nice amount of ease.
Step 4: Watch it become easier to infuse tension with ease
There will always be times where we are in places or situations that we find difficult. It’s there that our bodies tend to tighten. Yet, that tightening will not be the thing that brings an end to our discomfort. That tightening will actually make the experience worse than it has to be.
Step 5: Get comfortable with discomfort
How then, do we deal with experiences of this variety? One way might be by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and by and breathing through it.
As Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is always through.”
P.s. I'd love to hear some of the ways that YOU get through difficult situations, in the comments below.