How to Help Your Student Learn to Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
While it probably isn’t an everyday experience, learning to make friends with our discomfort is a way we can overcome obstacles to success. Here are a few reminders to help encourage your student to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
Why Being Uncomfortable Can Be A Good Thing
Despite our best efforts, being uncomfortable is unavoidable. Whether we are starting a new sports team, trying to learn a new language, or were recently accepted for the internship we have been waiting for, life is full of experiences that we don’t quite feel ready for. When this happens, instead of shying away, or panicking, what if we embraced the uncomfortable feeling and made it our friend? While it won’t come naturally at first, some simple tips and reminders can make stepping outside your comfort zone easier!
Discomfort is a Universal Human Experience
The first step in making discomfort your friend, is to know that you are not the first one to experience it! No matter your age, gender, race, or skill set, being uncomfortable is a part of being human. Every time you feel uncomfortable in a new situation, try to remind yourself that you are not alone. Someone just like you has experienced this feeling before and likely, someone in your class, maybe even right next to you, is feeling that same way now. It might be new and uncomfortable at first, but it is all a part of how learning works.
We Cannot Grow Inside Our Comfort Zones
Discomfort is one way that our bodies let us know we are experiencing something new. Like when your brain hurts from too many hours of math, or your muscles are sore when you try a workout move that you haven’t done before. Just like our muscles need to be stretched to get bigger, so do our comfort zones. Without a little discomfort, we can’t grow! This is why it is so important to get comfortable being uncomfortable and try new things. When we struggle, too often we see it as the first step of failure and something to avoid. In reality, it is the only way we learn. Next time you are struggling, try seeing the moment as an opportunity for growth, making you more resilient and stronger for whatever lies ahead. Even if you don’t succeed this time, it will set you up to be better next time!
Ask Questions and Share How You’re Feeling
In order to make discomfort your friend, you have to treat it like you would any of your other friends and get to know it! Although you can’t communicate with it directly, you can still ask questions and share how you’re feeling with the people around you. For example, an area where many students may feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable is when it comes to writing personal essays for college applications. This process takes a lot of consideration, technical parameters, and thought about your future. You may not know what to write or even how to begin. This is a perfect opportunity to turn to a parent, college counselor, or teacher. When we ask questions and express how we are feeling, we are able to learn more and get help, which can lead to us feeling more empowered and ready to complete our tasks.
Practice Makes Perfect, So Don’t Give Up!
Remember, being uncomfortable is different than being scared. When you are in situations that are outside the norm or unpredictable, that is an opportunity for growth and a chance to practice befriending your discomfort. It is not the same as being scared. If you are in a situation that feels unsafe, are at risk for danger, or feel overly anxious or stressed, remove yourself from the situation and seek help. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a way for students to experience personal growth both in their academic life and personal life. It won’t be easy but keep practicing, and don't give up. Pretty soon, you’ll feel like you can handle any healthy discomfort that comes your way!
As a partner in your child’s learning, Clackamas Middle College creates a safe and encouraging atmosphere to help our students step outside their comfort zone both in the classroom and out. Visit our website to view our competitive curriculum and see why we stand out among the top schools in our area!