How do you deal with discomfort? What is a PACT?

On the Mid North Coast and in the Upper Hunter region there have been many floods in the last couple of weeks. On Monday, my wife Donna and I visited Laurieton and North Haven and every house on the main road next to the river was piled high with mattresses, furniture and household appliances that have been destroyed by the flood. Some houses had over 1.2m of water through the house!

We stayed on the Mid North Coast between Port Macquarie and Hat Head a week before the floods enjoying ourselves, four wheel driving in the bush and on the beach but now it is all flood damaged and washed away. The flood has taken control over all the low lying areas and some photos are coming in on social media of devastation in so many places, including a house floating down river and so many homes and shops inundated with water.

In just a week, the Mid North Coast has gone from a playground to a declared natural disaster area.

It got me thinking about how a flood of emotions can literally change your life in a week as well. One weekend you are completely sane and having a ball with others and life is powering on, and the following weekend we can be devastated and wondering, ‘How did this happen?'




We often have no control externally of what happens TO us or our business, but we do have control over what happens IN us and our response to the circumstances.

Reaction is a reflex to an event while responses can be considered decisions before we act.

What is the immediate urge you have before you want to act? Is it to suppress or express an emotion to deal with your discomfort? What are your emotions doing prior to an urge or a trigger? Let’s explore this a little more.

So, what is discomfort? The dictionary defines ‘discomfort’ as an uneasy, anxious or embarrassing feeling you have. It is a tension in your mind that can play over and over in your mind as you create scenarios around outcomes that are very unlikely to happen but at the time feel as real as this present moment.

Many years ago I learnt, “When my emotions are unstable my thinking will be irrational”. I have seen a very conservative 70yo grandmother climb up and dance on a table because she was feeling some euphoria on her birthday. Then I have seen some of the strongest and most confident people I know glide into depression due to discomfort and want to hide away from the world for no apparent, rational, sound or plausible reason.

Can we and should we be able to read our emotions? What are the triggers or urges that are about to go off that we will express or suppress an action related to this emotion? Are we really in control of our lives?

Can we objectively view our emotional responses before they happen and place a filter between the emotion and our trigger, urge and response. The truth is we can however quite often we don’t.

This is because we have not considered our response to certain types of events before they happen. When our decisions are based on a code of conduct long before an event, or what we will do in an event, we will act differently.  A tool which can help you with this is to make a pact with yourself.

What’s a PACT? It is a


Action to



A PACT is a formal agreement, covenant or protocol as to what will happen between individuals or parties in an event likely to happen in the future.

Can we make a PACT with ourselves? Yes, we can!

I can decide what I will let trigger me through a PACT I make with myself. I can decide how much control my urges and triggers will have over my actions all the way from opening a fridge door to the opening sentence of an argument. However, I must do this before my emotions become unstable. As soon as my emotions become unstable, my thinking will become irrational and if no agreement or protocol was put in place, it may be too late.

So, what is it about yourself you would like to place under the control of a PACT? Do triggers and urges take control and you get swept away in a flood of emotions? Making a PACT with yourself today as to how you will respond and react in the future could save you a lot of embarrassment, frustration and regret afterwards.

Donna and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary this month and I was reminded that when we made our vows to each other we were making an unconditional promise to an imperfect person before an event, so in the event, we would have already decided how we would act. It was a PACT: a decision made as to how we would act during the difficult side of marriage. The poorer, in sickness, when tempted and the tough times. This PACT has been challenged but endured because of a commitment to the PACT and the person.

Do you need to learn how to make a PACT with yourself?

Do you need to know more about controlling your emotions (with the two predominant ones being anger and fear)?

Making a PACT with yourself in certain areas of your life is critical to helping you plan a life you want to live in.

That's my Thursday thought for this week.

Happy Easter to you and yours.


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