Being uncomfortable can be a good thing. Yes, Kari, I said it! I prefer to be uncomfortable in a fitness sense rather than a social sense, though. It builds toughness. Finding ways to make my body uncomfortable has made me stronger, faster, and more resilliant both physically and mentally.
When I exercise, I there are a few ways to be uncomfortable. Interval workouts are great. (In the future, I will put some of my favorites on here.) Right now I have been doing a few Insanity workouts to push my fitness levels. These are great because, no matter how long I have been doing them, I end up sucking wind and sweating buckets. When riding my bike on the trainer, I can get more work done in a shorter amount of time with intervals. By pushing beyond my comfort level and then recovering, I get greater bang for my exercise buck. Banded training is another great way I make myself uncomfortable. Using heavy bands, I can push to failure. I have noticed great changes since starting them almost a year ago.
A way I get uncomfortable daily is through cold exposure. Jumping in the shower without using any hot water is how I begin each day. Now, I will say that I do not stand in the cold water for the entire time I am in there. I rinse, scrub up, and then rinse again. I do give my body some time in between to warm itself back up. The first benefit to taking a cold shower is obvious; it wakes you up fast! There are many studies out there about other benefits of cold showers. It is said to burn fat, improve immunity and circulation, as well as ease stress. My favorite benefit has been with muscle soreness and recovery. I feel that my cold showers after workouts has helped me recover faster before my next session.
Aside from helping my body in many ways, I believe exposing my body to different levels of uncomfortableness has made me more resilliant in the face of what life may throw at me. Speaking from experience.