Feeling Stuck? Here’s How Experts Recommend Moving Through Discomfort

This research-backed drill can help you accept where you’re at and then take the next step forward.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series that explores the psychology of “rebounding” from setbacks in life, and provides four mental skills that you can use to help sharpen your response to injuries or other disappointment. This is the second mental drill in the series.

There’s no doubt about it: Getting hurt sucks. It’s painful, of course, but it also involves far more than muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments—it’s a full-body physical, mental, and emotional experience. And it’s often the mindset to which you approach the disappointment that will determine how quickly and successfully you bounce back.

Experts have long studied the psychological impact of injuries and other life setbacks, and through their research and work with athletes, they have identified mental skills and tools that can help anyone build more strength and resiliency in the face of any challenge.

In our book Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger From Sports Injuries, we provide 15 essential mental skills for injury recovery—plus hundreds of stories and interviews with athletes who have been there—to help you chart a more positive comeback. This is one of those simple skills you can put into action right now.

Mindset to Master: Going FAR

People have a tendency to move away from uncomfortable feelings even though the best path to recovery is actually through them. Fighting against your feelings or suppressing them only makes them stick around longer, worsening the situation. When you allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling, you will be able to accept where you’re at and then take the next step forward. Use the acronym FAR to remember the progression you need to go through: Feel, Accept, Recover.

  • FEEL: Label each emotion you are experiencing. (Use the Emotion Decoder drill if needed.) Sit with that emotion for a moment, allowing it to merely exist.
  • ACCEPT: Once you really acknowledge that specific feeling, you may feel a release—that is acceptance, a settling into the truth. If it doesn’t happen on its own, you can encourage it by thinking or saying a phrase like “I’d really prefer for things to be different, but this is the reality of where I am right now.”
  • RECOVER: Now that you’ve released the feeling and accepted reality, you can plot the next step toward where you want to go.

Click the links below to continue reading more mindset tools:

Mindset to Master #1: Labeling Your Emotions

Mindset to Master #3: Practicing Bad News/Good News

Mindset to Master #4: Seeing Through the “Funhouse Mirror”