When we’re comfortable with being uncomfortable this will allow us to endure life challenges with much more ease. In our modern society, if we choose to be very comfortable then we can be. However, when we are comfortable and are slightly challenged by an increase of discomfort— work, relationships, and etc..— we may collapse under anxiety and close off from the world, or even try to escape it by quitting our jobs, leave our loved ones, and even suicide. It doesn’t matter how much money someone has, everyone endures the stressors of life. There’s a reason why private psychologists and therapists make so much money, and it’s not because people go to them for fun. How many of you have heard of a celebrity killing themselves or seeking professional help in a form of rehab or other means, I have almost on a weekly basis if you subscribe to people magazine (my wife does).
Don’t be afraid that there is no hope for you. The practice of being uncomfortable will help enable you to even surprise yourself how well you can endure. Here are some daily practices that you can do based loosely on Stoic philosophy:
Waking up early—we all want to stay in bed under our cozy blankets and press the snooze button, I sure do. The first step is usually the hardest, but once you’re up then the rest is easy. You may ask, “but why should I do that? What will I do?” There are plenty of things to do before work, school, house chores, etc…I like to go and exercise either at the gym or at home, meditate (another stress reducer), write, or other hobbies that I have. I love that it gives me extra time in the day for activities other than work, and I’m sure you can find something too. I promise you that your overall day satisfaction will improve as long as you go to bed on time. I go to bed around 10pm and wake up at 4:45 am.
Taking Cold Showers—this may be one of the hardest practices to do since being cold is very uncomfortable. Since I’ve started taking cold showers I’ve noticed my daily anxiety going down and cold weather does not seem that bad at all—I think that our bodies start to develop a higher threshold for pain and cold when we purposely expose ourselves to certain extremes, but don’t over do it by going nude into below zero degree weather without conditioning yourself first. It would be irresponsible on my part if I didn’t warn you of the dangers of cold such as hypothermia, frostbite, and death, so start slowly, just let the water be slightly colder than normal first and increase your tolerance slowly. I must warn you that the practice of exposing yourself to cold does get addicting especially if you drink hot coffee, coco, or tea—they taste so much better than before this practice.
Fasting— the practice of not eating food for 12 hrs or more every day helps increase our self control. First, fasting has enormous health benefits such as reduction in insulin levels throughout the day causing fewer insulin spikes reducing chances of getting diabetes. This helps to burn fat, especially visceral fat (belly fat)—when our body’s empties our glycogen stores ( sugar processed from carbohydrates) then it uses our fat for energy, this is a state of Ketosis, which is very efficient since all of us have fat no matter how big you are to sustain us for days. Again, I must warn you this is a gradual transition for example I first started with 12 hrs then moved to 16, and now 20 to 24 hrs daily. The longest I have gone without food was 72 hrs, but I don’t practice that often because I lose too much weight. When I started fasting I lost about 20 lbs very fast and I’m not a big person that’s going from 160 to 140 lbs, so you can see I can’t lose any more weight, but I feel great. Fasting was the fastest weight loss that I’ve ever experienced which includes working out like crazy (10 lb loss), but I most definitely still recommend exercise for other benefits outside of weight loss such muscle gain, stress reduction, and combined with weight loss you just look and feel awesome. However, this is very hard and in the beginning you’ll feel like you're starving yourself to “Death,” but I assure you you're not and you’ll increase self discipline dramatically, which always translates to other things.
These are the big three practices that I think are big in helping with mood satisfaction and overall happiness—only if they can be mastered. I think being comfortable with being uncomfortable really builds resilience in our modern world full of comfort, especially during these dark dystopian times. Don’t be a victim of circumstance, but endure and you will prevail, I promise you that!