We have a deeply ingrained desire for comfort, but growth only happens when we can accept physical and/or emotional discomfort. This can be done forcefully (through willpower) or mindfully (through acceptance). The mindful way is to open your heart to the experience of discomfort, by using the ROAR Method.
All pains and discomforts, be they physical or emotional, are just sensations in your body. The emotions that you are afraid of feeling—such as anxiety, shame, fear, grief—can be reduced to unpleasant sensations in your body. You don’t need to run away from them. You don’t need to let them tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. They are just warning signals.
The same is true with the cravings that push you to do things you don’t want to do. They are just sensations in your body. You don’t need to chase them. You don’t need to obey them. You can just be aware and let them be.
The ROAR Method is very simple.
- Recognize the emotion or urge that is here. Label it to yourself, “Anxiety is here” or “Boredom is here”.
- Observe it in your body as pure sensations. See where they are, and what they are like. Stay for some moments in the place where they are the strongest.
- Accept the sensations as they are, without rejecting them, without aversion, without contracting. Just stay with them. Create room for them. Let them be there, as if it makes no difference for you.
- Release the sensations with every out-breath. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through those sensations in your body, and that with every exhalation they are dissolving.
Do this for a couple of minutes, and it will shift your state. In most cases you will be ready to move forward. This is how you mindfully embrace your pain. The ROAR Method is so important that I often recommend my clients to have a screenshot with the word ROAR as their phone wallpaper, for a constant reminder.
Do you want to remember to do this more often? Consider using one of the images below as the wallpaper for your phone.