Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Tolerating Discomfort
Orlando CBT Therapist Shares How Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone Is Necessary for Change
The term “discomfort intolerance” refers to a personal belief system that life should never be too hard or uncomfortable. The term was coined by the psychologist Albert Ellis, one of the founding fathers of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Individuals with this belief system often say to themselves, “I can’t! I don’t want to! It’s too difficult!”. And although it seems that life would be quite easy if you strive to live by this philosophy, research has, in fact, found that this type of thinking often leads to anxiety disorders (panic disorder, social anxiety, phobias), OCD, and depression.
Living in your comfort zone and shying away from anything that is difficult or makes you feel uncomfortable may sound tempting, but it is doubtful that your life will expand.
Unfortunately tolerating discomfort is unavoidable if you want to grow and succeed in life. One has to set a goal and commit to it even when things get difficult – most people don’t achieve things by avoiding challenging situations or shying away from difficult new tasks.
For many individuals with anxiety, finding ways to avoid possibly uncomfortable situations becomes a way to “anxiety proof” their life. For instance, if driving on a busy highway makes you anxious, you may instead spend a great deal of time finding alternate routes even if this wastes a great deal of time. If you don’t like meeting new people, you will likely try to avoid any social situation that requires you to interact or speak with people you don’t know. In the short term, these strategies may work. If you avoid things that make you uncomfortable, you won’t be anxious. The same can be said of physical discomfort. Enduring physical discomfort is an unavoidable part of getting and staying fit and the avoidance of physical discomfort is often the main reason we don’t stick with an exercise program.
Let’s think about this for a moment. If you spend your entire life avoiding unpleasant things in an attempt to live a life in which every situation is pleasant and every emotional experience is positive, you will be ill equipped to handle life’s curve balls and, most importantly, you will also miss out on important opportunities for growth. Moving through challenging situations with effort helps us to develop inner strength, become more emotionally resilient and teaches us what our minds and bodies can accomplish when we are determined.
GroundWork Counseling in Orlando specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT teaches us to examine our self-talk, how we view the world, how we think as well as the meaning and importance we assign to events. With CBT, we literally learn to change the way we view life. All of our therapists and counselors are trained in CBT and practice with the most current treatments supported by scientific empirical research. At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, all of our treatments are based on research supported and evidence-based treatment methods.
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