Wouldn’t it be nice to tolerate emotional discomfort? Whether we realize it or not, running from discomfort drives many problematic behaviors.

Overwhelming discomfort underlies many issues we may struggle with: avoidance, anger, people-pleasing, substance use, and panic.

According to Dr. Arielle Schwartz, PhD, “It is important to learn how to exist with difficult feelings. You can do this by slowly developing your ability to stay present with increasingly greater amounts of sensation.”

In The Complex PTSD Workbook, Dr. Schwartz presents an exercise to increase your tolerance for emotional discomfort: “In somatic psychotherapy, you can learn to increase your window of tolerance through an activity called pendulation. Pendulation involves alternating your attention between feelings of safety and feelings of distress as they are experienced in your body.”

Take just 10 minutes to complete this worksheet by 

  • Printing it, or
  • Writing your answers on a separate piece of paper, or
  • Typing your answers into Notes or a word document.

Who can this emotional discomfort worksheet help, and how?

This worksheet is good for people who have experienced:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Overwhelm
  • Boundary issues
  • Struggles with anger
  • Heartbreak
  • Panic
  • Social anxiety
  • High emotional sensitivity

Need motivation?

“Emotional growth is about many things but if I had to distill it into just a few words, I might suggest the words ‘distress tolerance.’ A movement toward health is often about learning to co-exist with hard things, learning to tolerate difficult feelings, etc without avoiding.” – Jim Jackson

“Only when we hold and tolerate difficult feelings can we think about ways to alleviate suffering.” – Alison McGourty