Hi guys. Welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda.
And today we are going to continue our discussion on discomfort.
So this time we're just going to discuss an article that we found by James Killian. He is a therapist who writes about nine benefits of mastering discomfort like we talked about last podcast. Sometimes discomfort is not a bad thing at all. It's something that we should lean into it is provoking us to Either go through the discomfort or figure out why we're it's it's information That's telling us something about our life if if we need to do something if we need to leave a situation if we need to have a hard conversation if we need to do the hard thing, it's information.
So we're going to link to James Killian's article, but we thought we would just discuss them here today.
So to start off the list, he talks about reducing procrastination. So as the master of procrastination, I lift my hand high and say, Oh yeah. So procrastination is definitely about avoiding things that make us uncomfortable or that we just wish to avoid, like recording yourself.
For the social media, I confess, learn to master discomfort and you will learn to master procrastination. Yes. And I will tell you that that is probably the thing when Laura mentioned it last podcast. Sometimes when you're making your list, like we talk about in time and priority management, and there are some priorities that you have to get done.
And the most of the time the thing that sits on the list the longest is the thing that you least want to do. And so we try to avoid altogether. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but you just carry it with you constantly and it's just hanging over your head. And so really it's all about getting it done.
And so we talk about just doing that thing the first. The first thing, put it up there, make it a priority. Tackle it, get it done, and Yes, it's uncomfortable, but as you push through it, think about it. A, usually it doesn't take as long. B, it doesn't make you as uncomfortable as you think it's going to. And C, on the other side of it, you're like, yes, I got that done.
Big sigh of relief, do a little dance, cheer, whatever you have to do. But really on the other side of it is a praise party. So number two, he talks about exercise. Of course, exercise is uncomfortable. Once again, keeping on the uncomfortable, the discomfort, leaning into what it means to exercise. Why do we exercise?
It's takes up time. We could be doing other things like lounging by the pool with a cold drink in our hand. I don't know. There's a lot of other things comfortable than exercise. However, the benefits of exercise are longevity. It's losing weight, getting in shape. It's, it's becoming, you know, a better version of yourself inside and outside.
So exercise, yes, it is. I can procrastinate exercise with the best of them, but I will tell you, I've never finished a workout or done something intentionally to move my body and been like, yeah, I wish I wouldn't have done that. Now, yes, there has been some injuries sustained in some of my workouts, but aside from that, it seems that yes, it benefits out with the complaints.
I would interject to going back to the procrastination. One thing that has helped me the most is when somebody pointed out that you think that you're doing yourself a favor by, by avoiding the uncomfortable thing and leaving it, but it's so uncomfortable to have that looming over you.
You're not really, discomfort free. And so if you're uncomfortable in both scenarios, only one of those moves you forward. So it's actually the most comfortable thing to just go ahead and knock it off the list. So that, that to me, that reframing was like, Oh yeah, you're exactly right. Because it, it is hard.
Like I wake up in the middle of the night and a cold sweat, like, I still got that thing to do, you know? And then for exercise, I've heard it said before that if there was, a pill that could give you the same sorts of benefits that exercise does. Like it is the most effective. Like you couldn't even, you would be a bazillionaire.
There is nothing, no medicine that does as many good things for you as exercise. And you're right. Like I've never not felt proud of myself that I did it. You know, just getting over that hurdle and doing it like leaves you with such a better. It's worth it. And yet, I need to lead into it more for sure.
I think we all could. Nutrition is the next thing on the list. And literally... Next to exercise, what you put in your body is probably one of the most important things that helps to navigate or even just propagate longevity and health. And so when we, when we reach for the extra large triple chocolate cookie that yes, gives us a little bit of dopamine and some pleasure.
It also puts cellulite on our thighs and so therefore we're not moving as fast and we don't want to exercise.
One thing about nutrition that I think is interesting is when when we start eating a bunch of like sugary and processed stuff Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of more and so you're not satisfied Like it it's more and more dopamine, but then you crave more and more and more So that is an interesting thing of like leaning into the discomfort of maybe Weaning yourself off of some of that stuff and listen, I'm not perfect at all.
I'm just I'm just relaying information here That it can benefit you to reset back to a more normal state You can retrain your taste buds to not be so dependent on that It's just a it's a feedback loop the more you do it the more you want the more you need the more. Most addicted, you know that it is So maybe it's worthwhile to not self soothe with The thing it's worth considering.
Definitely. One other area that may provide some growth, but some people might be just might have some discomfort engaging in is meditation and meditation is amazing.
It has so many benefits, including increased longevity, just meditating and can make us more positive in our outlook on life. reduces depression significantly. Meditation is amazing, but some people aren't comfortable trying it. The biggest misconception the author says in this article, the biggest misconception about meditation is that it's about stopping your thoughts, which naturally makes people uncomfortable.
But this is false. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. It's about learning to observe your thoughts in a more helpful way, this is what we talk about all the time, developing that skill of metacognition, observing our thoughts in a nonjudgmental way and deciding what we want to do with them.
He says, the more you practice sitting with and observing your thoughts, the closer you get to mastering discomfort. He says, in my opinion, there is no better way to get comfortable with discomfort than by practicing meditation exercises, which can literally be for a couple minutes a day. I will second that you can do on headspace.
There's lots of little five minute, there's even one minute breath breathing exercises, and these can be transformational for you. So if you are not a meditator, we encourage you to, to try it. Try it might feel a little uncomfortable the first time, but the benefits are Tremendous and it really given the amount of effort you have to put in it's really amazing what I think what get out of it
Like baby step that is an interesting exercise is. If you're someone who needs the TV on and the radio on and you've never spent a moment of silence ever in your life I think an interesting exercise is just turning it all off.
And why is that so uncomfortable? It's just interesting like to me. That's a baby step into meditation of like what's coming up that you're drowning out, you know
Yeah, another one would be really noticing what's around you and being mindful of the things you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel.
So, yeah, a walk can be a meditation if you can't sit still.
We're ED physicians, so we have some maybe mild tendencies.
I think that meditation is so much more important for us for that reason. I think it's so good, so. Another thing that can provide some discomfort and growth is new experiences. He says learning a skill, language, or instrument can be uncomfortable.
It's not fun when you don't know what you're doing. Yes. And we all remember that feeling from our first day of residency, my first day of residency was an OB rotation and I was on call the very first day. So I got to work probably at 5 30 in the morning and did not eat or really, I don't even think I drank anything until much later that day.
And I'm in a C section and it's hot as Hades in there. And they're like pulling and tugging and there's blood. And I about pass out. I was like, Oh my gosh. I remember feeling like it was just very uncomfortable, but within a few days, and this is what we always said, every new rotation would stink for like two or three days, but then it would be fine.
Then you'd feel like you knew what you were doing. So he says learning a new skill, language, or instrument can be uncomfortable. Yeah, it's not fun when we don't know what we're doing, but when we master our discomfort, we develop new skills in many areas and expand our lives in new and meaningful ways.
100%. I think we can all harken back to residency time and med school time to remember times that we had to learn a new procedure or meet even every new patient can represent a new experience that may be uncomfortable.
Yeah. Well, and even not just that, like one of the things that was eyeopening for me doing that integrative medicine fellowship was like anti Alzheimer's.
Thoughts about trying to prevent Alzheimer's and, and the feeling is that learning a new language, and especially for older people, learning new things on the computer is really good for our brains music, of course, is always good because you're using both sides of your brains, but I, you know, just to put it out there, we're all Gen Xers and learning how we've had no business classes, or at least I haven't learning how to do this business and like.
What do you do for a website? Like, what do you do to make a Instagram reel? Like what, I mean, these are things that were not anything I saw myself doing when I was in medical school. And I can literally feel my brain like heating up to like, I imagine like steam coming, it's probably coming out of my ears trying to learn this stuff.
But Oh my God, how good for my brain. I'm probably like, blasting through some, like, beta amyloid plaques right now, like, just trying to figure out how to do a podcast, you know what I mean? And I can shy away from that, but, like, how good, how good am I serving the 80 year old version of myself that I'm busting up amyloid plaques in my brain, maybe?
Yeah. Plus, it's just so fun. Once you learn to embrace discomfort, to grow and learn new things, it's really fun, actually, for the most part. Cause the discomfort doesn't last. Another thing he says is say goodbye to clutter. I think this is so interesting as a, well, I mean, as a, as an exercise in discomfort.
He says clutter is one of many consequences of procrastination. If your house, car, office desk is cluttered, so is your mind. It's true. Cause you might like that clutter. It's always kind of floating in the back of your mind like, Oh, I gotta do that. I gotta take care of that. He says, get past the discomfort of getting,
I hope there's a really good conversation going on in her and be the master of your domain.
I think this is so interesting because come back to us, you know, all the stuff that we accumulate over our lives, really in a real way. Owns us instead of us owning it because it's just always there. Hey, I'm here. I'm like a mess. Can you, when are you going to take care of this? And if we just dig into it, a lot of times these clutter piles may feel very overwhelming, but if we even just say, I just have to do this for five minutes.
We'll get going on it. And then it doesn't feel so bad. It feels easier. So that's, yeah, I think that's a constant battle for many of us, especially those of us with children, because they seem to have their own little clever factories.
Well, and that's, that's an example that I noticed in myself of a perfectionist tendency.
I didn't even realize was I have this belief. Incorrect. It's an incorrect belief. That if I'm going to start a project, I've got to finish it. Who said that? Like, nobody said that. But meanwhile, me passing by my giant pile of clutter and papers and mail to sort through, it only grows. Because no, I don't have time to do the whole thing, but five minutes or ten minutes here or there.
Like, that realization has been, and I say that as a pile of mail is piling up right now in my kitchen. I, this is a good podcast for me because I need to remember this. Like, nothing's stopping me from just doing a handful of those. Like, let's just go, though. It's not comfortable to not be doing anything.
As much as I tell myself I don't want to do it, I really do want to do it, because it's not a good time staring at it. No, but I'll also add too, for any of these things, we have to approach it with self compassion. We can't we can't go into any of these things with self destructive thoughts or it's actually not going to be a helpful growth experience.
So if you're mad, there's no, nobody's yeah, paper piles. It doesn't need to be perfect. No, no. That's something I need to tell myself, like just.
Right. None of it, none of it needs to be perfect. It needs to be livable and it needs to be, you know, accessible and efficient and you need to be able to know where things are, but you don't need to be perfectionist about it. You don't, I mean, honestly, hoarders have a level of perfectionism. It's kind of like a distorted perfectionism, but that's why they wind up in that situation is because they can't, they get frozen and stuck and don't know what to do with the discomfort that they feel when faced with the idea of getting rid of things.
So I like to think one exercise I think of is, well, what if my house caught on fire today? Like, would this even matter? Or what if I were going to move to Hawaii, which I want to do. Would I really take this with me? And if not, then, see ya.
No. So this next one is a personal attack on me. Number seven: empty Inbox. And he says, Checking email can be uncomfortable for some. Procrastination creeps into this simple task in an effort to avoid discomfort. Getting comfortable with discomfort leads to improvement in your productivity. And for sure there's a lot of business. Thoughts of like having an empty inbox and, and ways of sorting and doing it just to stay on top of it all the time.
I'm not 100 percent sold on this one because I would also argue that it needs to be useful information to even be worth my time. Right. Okay. Sometimes I feel like that's why, like, this is not adding to my life at all, but yes, I do miss things. A lot of times. So I would be curious what you guys think does well, I love that.
I love what Nick Sennenberg says and come up for air about inbox zero, basically where you archive everything every day. And so you're not having to take the time to go through and actually like delete every single thing, but you, you look at what has come in that day and then you can. You can sort things if you need to, like, if you know, it needs to go into a particular full folder, you can put it in there, but you can archive the rest of everything.
And then you can always go search it later to me. I, for years did not like I had my husband hilarious. He just was very judgmental about my email inbox. I won't even tell you how many emails are in there. I've had thousands that were never read judgment. But what was that?
I've had thousands. Yeah, Kendra knows I've more than, because I was like, I've had more one day at work, I'm like, I'm, I think what I'm gonna do is select all and just hit delete.
And I, yeah. I thought about it for months and then one day I did it and I am still alive. Well also though, you know, for like, for me, I did not want to spend time even worrying about, I'm like, I've got memory, I've got space there. I don't like, that's not how I wanted to spend my time is on that detail. So that inbox zero technique that he teaches.
I love that. That has helped me so much. And that's in that book, Come Up For Air.
Love it. We can, we can reference that one too.
All right, so mixed reviews on Inbox, but at least maybe archiving everything would be a useful test.
Not avoiding it. Like, that's the main thing. Right. Have a, have a schedule for checking it.
I have, I've gotten an, you know, what is so interesting. I, there is an inbox, there is an email phobia circulating. Like it's, I've heard about it from more than one person and I have experienced it in the past where it's like I'm going to go in there and people are going to tell me you have to do stuff and I don't want to even see it.
You know, I didn't think about that. Oh no, it's. I don't know, did you, do you remember Tanya talking about this? She had residents who were like, afraid to go in their inbox because they knew there was going to be some bad feedback or something in there. It is a common, yeah. So it's very, it's interesting.
So just create a schedule for when you're going to check it and check it.
Okay. So next one see what you guys think about this one. Number eight is better financial health. And he says the amount of people that don't really understand their financial situation is alarming.
The reason: discomfort. Learning how to master discomfort will help you master your finances, which ultimately will lead to a drastic reduction in stress. My own personal experience with this actually was residency. Before up until residency I, first of all, it was back in the medieval times. So there, you couldn't just flip out your phone and check your bank account.
I fully operated by if the ATM machine said I was out of money, then I was done. But up until then, that was just kind of how I gauged and the ATM machine would spit out a balance sheet, but that didn't take into account what checks were outstanding, you know, did we even have automatic payments at that time?
I don't even know. I'm telling you as I'm old I finally in residency. Was like, all right. I don't know what even prompted it, but I the first financial book I ever read was Susie Orman and I think my thing was the people that I saw on TV or the internet or whatever would use a lot of financial speak that I just didn't It wasn't accessible for me and so it, it seemed intimidating and it seemed like something I was going to have to take a lot of classes or something to understand.
But Susie Orman's book was written in layman's terms and it was easy to understand. And it was the first time I was like, Oh, Oh, I can start doing that. I really can start owning my financial health. But yeah, truly it was that I thought it was going to be a giant pain in the rear end to make progress on that.
So I avoided it until residency for sure. What about you guys?
Yeah, totally. I grew up, well, my parents got divorced when I was in high school. I went to college, totally broke 100%. Like my family couldn't help me with school and they had not, there was no financial literacy training in when I was growing up.
And so I get to college and yep, 100 percent I am bounced, I don't know, about several checks. That was embarrassing. And I still remember like a lot of humiliation. I remember that. I don't know. It really affected me selling my plasma for money for pizza or whatever. And not, I was saying, I think it was residency before I started reading.
It was the anesthesia residency bless them for providing some, if anyone's at Wake Forest anesthesia residency, which our husbands were in, gave them books. I think they gave, they give them the wealthy barber and maybe the automatic millionaire. I'm not sure, but it was so smart of them to provide that resource for us because it, it changed the trajectory of our lives, like reading those were like, Oh, this is how you do this. And so many physicians are coming from, I mean, I know a lot of physicians come from privileged families, but many are coming into medicine as a way to go from go into an upper middle class situation from, from working class or, you know, people who are struggling more with money and they just don't have that financial literacy.
So, I'm just so grateful that they provided that for us.
So, yeah, and so if you notice, they invited significant others and spouses to that. That's how Laura and I got to go to that and they sent the book home with the family. So kudos to that. That was, you know, again, in the medieval times, but that did, that's probably why I went on to read Susie Orman because, because I was like, oh, the wealthy barber was a good one that was easily accessible. I know you have other favorites, Laura. What are some easy ones for somebody to get started?
So Automatic Millionaire was an easy one. My very, very favorite one is The Simple Path to Wealth by J. L. Collins. That one, if you just It's really, really good.
And you just need one book that that's the one I would recommend. Yeah, those, I can't, I have several other ones that are not coming to mind right now, but wealthy barber. And look, I'm sitting right next to my bookshelf and here it is, there it is. All these years later yeah.
Do not let the false belief that this is going to be to you guys are physicians or in health care.
Like you guys are smart enough to figure this out. You really are. Just take that 1st step and finance and movements towards financial independence will impact your well being. Like, I can't even tell you, just knowing that you don't have to put up with stuff that you don't need to put up with is very empowering.
Yes. So moving on to the last one improved relationships is the last benefit to mastering discomfort that he talks about. So here's his quote, if there's one similarity among people with poor boundaries It's that they can't stand being uncomfortable. This aversion leads to poor boundaries in relationships, which ultimately create symptoms of depression, anxiety, loneliness and more master your ability to experience discomfort and watch your satisfaction with your relationships improve drastically. I think this is really worth considering. You know, people pleasing and not having the difficult conversation, not leaving the, you know, I'm thinking of previous relationships that probably I should have just, you know, left earlier like not doing that isn't doing anyone any favors.
Right. Like it's it, it does have an effect and people pleasing, like the most fascinating thing about that, you think you're being a nice person, but you are bitter inside when you're doing things that you don't want to be doing and you're not showing up as the best version of yourself. So are you really helping anybody when you're just people pleasing?
Like no one wins.
Boundaries are, I would say, it's more than worth considering. This is essential and for physicians, so many of us don't know how to establish healthy boundaries. This is so crucial to our well being. I love what Brene Brown says about this. She says the most compassionate people that she has studied are the most boundaried.
Which is so fascinating because we think we're so compassionate and so selfless when we let people run all over us, but over time it makes us bitter, angry, and burned out. This is such a huge component of burnout for doctors. So sometimes we do have to pass through a little bit of discomfort to create the boundaries and to enforce them, but man, that is such a worthwhile investment.
Yeah. I, I don't, I mean, some people, I guess, like confrontation. I don't love confrontation, but I am, it is worth it to me to just go ahead. You're thinking it anyway. Like, me, at least, would be ruminating, like, endlessly thinking about it, so how much better to just have the conversation, you know, like, I don't know, this is, I think this one's a big one, of all of them, like, maybe this is one of the most important ones that he mentions.
I think so. It doesn't even always involve a confrontation. It doesn't even always involve telling the person what your boundary is, but it involves you knowing what you're going to do in response. So if I have a boundary that I don't want people to call me and ask me to write prescriptions for them or text me and ask me for those things.
I might have the boundary that I'm just going to ignore those, you know, I'm just not, I'm just not going to respond, or I'll have some pat phrase that I know I'm going to say if someone does. So I don't have to tell anyone this ahead of time. I just know what, how I'm going to respond to someone else's behavior to help protect myself to help, you know, remember boundaries are like a fence around your yard.
This is your life, your wellbeing, what you need to do to help keep yourself healthy, well, and safe and honor our relationship with ourselves, taking care of ourselves by not letting other people just come camp out on our yard.
Right. That, that's such an important point because the results, I mean, people, people are going to do what they want to do.
They're allowed to make requests of you. They're, they're allowed to think that you should be at their beck and call all of the time. That's, that has nothing to do with you. They're allowed to have their own thoughts, they're allowed to say words, they're allowed to ask questions, they're allowed to do whatever.
It's you you can decide, Yeah, they can, they can, I'm still not doing it. Like, this, this doesn't fit with my values. Like, there's no obligation. People should ask for things. Like, I, I I admire people that can get things done for them. You know what I mean? Why not? If you can make it work for you, that seems like a smart strategy.
But it has nothing to do with you if, if that sort of person is asking requests of you, you it's up to you if you decide yes or no.
Thank you for listening to this part 2 on discomfort. And we hope that we've inspired you to lean in just a little bit and also have given you some actionable steps in order to get moving through your discomfort and onto something bigger, better, faster, greater. So, we wanted to announce we'll be in Philadelphia for ASEP October 9th through 12th. Will you be there? Look for us at the Revitalize Women Physician Group's booth and the networking event on October 10th. We will include a link to this event's website in the show notes.
We'll also be at the Women's and wellness section event. So check us out. We'd love to see you in Philly and hit us up so we can meet you, shake your hand and talk about all the wonderful things you've learned through our podcast. Go to our website, www.thewholephysician.com to find out more information.
So until next time, you are whole. You are a gift to medicine and the work you do matters.