There is a natural tendency to shy away from people or situations that you don’t prefer. Avoiding the uncomfortable is a normal thing. In psychology, this is known as the pain pleasure principle.
From a commonsense point of view this makes sense, doesn’t it? You avoid touching a hot stove because of the pain it will cause. You indulge in your favorite comfort food because it gives you pleasure.
But there are challenging conditions that seem unavoidable. One realm involves human beings. You can’t exactly avoid your employer. Try as you may, that would only cause you further pain. Then there are people you just don’t resonate with. Funerals of loved ones take place. Health challenges unfold sometimes. Difficulties do arise in various facets of life. How can you face these circumstances thoughtfully?
Incorporate these four steps, known as the acronym STAR, when you find yourself in uncomfortable positions:
- Stop: In many situations a knee-jerk reaction is ineffective and not required. Pause, even for a minute, when possible.
- Think: Typically, difficult circumstances are emotional. Emotions can hijack the prefrontal cortex in the brain which is responsible for planning, organizing and decision-making. This is where your best thinking takes place. Breathe. Take some time to reflect on your best response.
- Act: Make a step based on your own best thinking. This may be a small step. Small steps add up over time though. It may be an imperfect step, but that’s OK. You can adjust later. Sometimes, you must act like you are being confident or courageous. It’s mindful to “fake it until you make it” when needed for your greater good.
- Reinforce your best efforts: Mentally applaud yourself for your successes. Feel the pride inside for effectively navigating the tough situations.