Oh. Discomfort. It can look like anxiety, depression, sadness, anger, stress, tension, pain, loneliness, or any number of other words. You name it. For some folks, even happiness reads as discomfort. Go figure.
There are 2 basic types of discomfort: Trait and State.
Trait Discomfort: The level of discomfort that you walk around in most of the time. Folks with Generalized Anxiety Disorder tend to know a lot about trait discomfort, but they’re not the only ones. Some people feel irritable a lot of the time or struggle with chronic physical pain. There are endless kinds of discomfort and all of them can start to seem almost fixed.
State Discomfort: What happens when a trigger gets hit. When you walk into a room and see something you don’t like and feel angry, that’s state discomfort.
Can you see how the level of trait discomfort impacts the level of state discomfort? Easy right? If you feel really frustrated most of the time, it’s likely that you’ll feel more angry if a trigger is hit. It’s also likely that if you feel frustrated most of the time, you will experience more state periods of anger than someone who doesn’t feel frustrated most of the time.
Two questions arise for me here. First – how do we contribute to our levels of trait and state Discomfort, and second, how do we lower both?
Those are the 2 questions I’m going to try to answer over the next several days. You can look forward to reading about:
- The Cycle of Discomfort,
- Thought Distortions,
- and a review of how Mindfulness can help us pull out of the Cycle.