Diving into the Discomfort 

I recently lead a session of Woman Unleashed online retreat where Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici and I were taking about using your negative emotions as fuel or a place to step off from rather than allowing them to drag you down. I call this process diving into the discomfort.

You might be wondering why on earth you'd want to dive into your anger, sadness, or feelings of betrayal. After all, we're trying to avoid those negative feelings, right? In short, no. Negative emotions are part of life, while they may be uncomfortable, they have much to teach us.

I recently spent a glorious week on a little island off the coast of Belize. My last day on the island left me feeling depressed because I didn't want to go home. Instead of wallowing in my depression over my imminent departure, I asked myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” The answer: I didn't want to have to return to the busyness of life back home – I was enjoying my peace and solitude. No cell service, no email, no deadlines. It was bliss. So I dove deeper: “How can I keep this state of peace as I move back into life at home?” One of the things I loved so much about my time on the island was my daily morning sunrise yoga sessions. I started each morning on the beach doing a few yoga poses and ended with journaling and my morning meditation. I do yoga every day, by usually not first thing in the morning. This, however, is a relatively easy addition to my morning routine. My hope is that starting my day with yoga will help me keep some of that peaceful feeling island living inspired in me.

So when you find yourself feeling an emotion you aren't too fond of, I invite you to dive a little deeper with these reflections:

  1. What am I feeling? Write it out, draw it out. Emotions want to be expressed.
  2. Why am I feeling this way? Don't think you know the answer and let ego take over here. Allow whatever is going to bubble up just bubble up.
  3. What is it that I really need here? Or what is it that I really want? Again, don't think about it. Just allow whatever wants to come up to come up.
  4. What are my emotions telling me to do here? What needs to be expressed/ changed/ let go of..? This question is critical as I see our emotions as superpowers for change. This is where emotion inspires action.
  5. Is there anything else I need to know? Anything else that needs to be expressed? If so, allow that to come up as well.

Take your time with this process. Allow your emotions to be a guide for you to deepen your understanding of yourself. And most of all, approach this exercise with the air of curiosity. There is no judgement here. Enjoy learning about yourself, nourishing yourself, and truly loving and accepting yourself as you welcome your emotions into your life.

If you want to learn more about how to do this, I invite you to sign up for my free 7-Day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge, where we go through each of my 7 Principles of being a Well-Nourished Woman. Sign up here

Much love! 



  • Virginia Reeves says:

    What is it i really want or need?
    I think this question is one people (me) avoid because it forces us to be more honest with ourselves, deep down.
    Asking if there is more to express is important because that moves past the superficial answers that may have come forth earlier.
    It’s like asking WHY over and over.
    Thanks for this good reminder Mary.

    • Dr Mary Pritchard says:

      Yes, it is so an important (and often overlooked) question, isn’t it? I love the idea of diving deep to really get to know ourselves. So glad it served you! 🙂

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