I took the day off from exercising yesterday, and decided, instead, to visit a wellness center one of my clients had told me about.
At City Sweats, $45 entitles one to a 45 minute private session in their “cabin,” a 140° infared sauna.
My daily workout is conducted in a room with intentionally very high heat and humidity, so the feeling of being enclosed in a heated cave, in which one is content to drip feverishly with sweat, is familiar.
Nonetheless, that I had purposefully booked an appointment, driven to the place, and paid my hard-earned money to sit in a gently masochistic atmosphere (combined with the fact that I didn’t have the usual distraction of a workout in conjunction with the heat) made me aware of how weird it all was.
“I am sitting in this room voluntarily. I willingly sought this out. I elected to be made to feel extremely uncomfortable.”
There are innumerable things we, as free-willed adults do every day that make us uncomfortable, or that require considerable amounts of mental and physical discipline and exertion. Less mature versions of ourselves might shirk the tasks, but we do them because we believe in the eventual benefits of our actions.
I wanted to sweat it out in an infrared sauna because I believed I would feel great afterwards (and I did, for the record).
But there’s another reason we seek out and create uncomfortable, challenging situations of all kinds.
We need to regularly demonstrate to ourselves that we are capable of entering that zone known as endurance. From that mental state, no amount of required effort nor temporary discomfort will deter us from achieving our goals. And this is what we need reaffirmed: we have the power within us to rise to our highest potential in every moment.
If we are not calling on ourselves to rise, we allow our mental and emotional and physical “muscles” to atrophy. And the danger in that, of course, is forgetting how powerful we really are.
We can run a grueling race. We can dedicate available resources towards making choices that support our health and wellbeing. We can navigate rough interpersonal waters. We can endure 45 minutes in 140° because, by virtue of doing, we activate everything that’s needed within us to withstand the challenge.