Before we dive into this, let's first explore another perspective.
A friend of mine suggested that discomfort and pain are synonymous or that PAIN IS A CONTINUUM AND THAT DISCOMFORT IS ANOTHER NAME FOR PAIN ON A LOWER SCALE.
Meaning that pain is a level 5-10, and discomfort is 1-4 on a scale of 1-10 intensity gradations.
I can't entirely agree with this contention.
In fact, it is the opposite.
Let us take a step back to understand what lies behind all senses, stimulations, and emotions we experience.
They are all communications, messengers, and emissaries, delivering critical information for us to integrate to help us come to decisions that keep us safe.
Pain, fear, shame, discomfort, anger, sadness, pride, and depression are all your buddies and advisers, and you're the CEO who needs to put them all together to figure out how to integrate all of their information best to meet all of your needs.
THEY ARE NOT TO BE ELIMINATED, SHAMED, DENIED, OR REPRESSED, BUT TO BE RESPECTED, ACCEPTED, AND INTEGRATED.
So how are discomfort and pain good for us? What are they communicating to me?
They offer opposite messages.
DISCOMFORT TELLS US TO GO BACK TO HOMEOSTASIS, WHICH AHS WORKED WELL FOR OUR SURVIVAL AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
PAIN TELLS US THAT THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS IS NOT MEETING OR VIOLATING YOUR NEEDS AND THEREFORE YOU NEED TO CHANGE SOMETHING TO GO OUT OF THE CURRENT HOMEOSTASIS.
Pain tells you to change the status quo discomfort tells you to return to it
Pain says to do something, and discomfort says to stop doing something.
Pain instructs us to start something new, and discomfort instructs us to stop doing something new.
Do you see the difference? It's nuanced, but once you see it, they are not only not on a continuum but are often trying to protect you in opposite ways.
For example, You are stressed and want to let it out with a nice strenuous workout. Your discomfort will likely tell you to go back to the couch, and your pain will tell you to let out the excess energy. They are both trying to help but with opposite communications.
Let's recognize that all of our thoughts, feelings, and senses are all working to help and protect us but often in conflicting ways, and it's our job to respect and integrate all of these dichotomous voices into our decisions by first understanding that they are all on the same team. YOURS.
Do you see any differences between discomfort and pain?