How do you avoid difficult feelings?

Approaches to discomfort.

Avoiding and distracting

When we feel discomfort, we have two basic options to deal with it. The first way is to avoid those feelings. Some people keep themselves super busy or use their phones to  escape. Others may reach for drugs or alcohol to feel better.

If we are always reaching for things outside of ourselves to feel better, we can lose touch with what the body truly needs. Sometimes the things we reach for make problems worse in the longer term. We might become too reliant on others or get stuck in the constant search for a quick fix.

Facing difficult feelings.

But there’s another way to handle difficult feelings. Instead of rejecting discomfort, you can turn towards it. Studies show that people who do this have lower levels of bodily distress and related symptoms.

It might seem scary at first, but when you practice turning towards what you are not prepared to feel, you’ll learn to trust that your body can handle negative feelings without being overwhelmed by them.

This gentle action of turning towards opens a window of opportunity where healthier ways to regulate and respond to symptoms become possible. It’s a small but brave step that helps you be more present in your life, with all the benefits that come with that.

Therapist Tip Sticker

To start facing your feelings, just pause and let whatever you’re feeling inside be there without trying to change it. It might include tension, numbness, restlessness, or pain. With practice, you might find that this simple act of recognizing and accepting your feelings can help the tight and contracted areas in your body loosen up.