Comfort is an essential need that allows the human body and mind to calm and replenish. Humans are designed to seek safety and comfort to restore well-being so that we can engage again with what matters.

  • When comfort is understood as a state for safe replenishment, we build resilience for taking inspired actions that are outside the "comfort zone."
  • Comfort unwinds stress and relieves the vigilance in the primitive brain, allowing us to be more responsive than reactive in daily life.
  • When we're consciously choosing comfort, every system in our body-mind is influenced to take time to rest, digest, and recalibrate for the life we want to lead.

Chronically Comfortable

We are not (!) meant to live our lives entirely in "comfort."

Comfort is indeed an essential state of being. When we're comfortable, good things happen inside our bodies. We integrate our life experiences. We recalibrate and can see what has happened and what we imagine is to come with greater clarity.

It's exceedingly difficult to feel comfortable if we're truly unsafe.

That said, a lot of people are not thriving because they have made comfort-all-the-time their unachievable goal.

Did you know that yearning is not "comforting"?

How about investing energy and passion in people and projects that matter to you? Not "comforting."

These are meant to be activating. We're designed to explore, engage, stretch, and grow from before we're born until we leave this body.

Most people know we're not going to find health and well-being if we're distressed all the time.

What gets us sideways is that advertising promotes comfort — spas, sofas, entertainment, food, and drink. We're trained to focus on comfort as the signal that we're okay.

But we are designed to "get comfortable" in order to REST… To digest an appropriate meal… To integrate… To savor!

To seek chronic comfort is to deprive ourselves of thriving. And there is this feedback loop that can lead to addiction, overeating, avoidance, and disease. It goes like this…

  1. I feel these feelings! I am not comfortable!
  2. I shall go eat some comfort food, watch my comfort shows, and scroll my distracting social media!
  3. I no longer feel those feelings. Whew!
  4. Feelings get stronger… and stronger…
  5. Arrrgh! I feel these feelings! I am really not comfortable!
  6. Repeat

To break this cycle, we ask ourselves useful questions. We pause and feel the feelings. We explore what is most alive in us!

Comfort IS an essential need. Attempting to "stay there" is a path to chronic dis-ease.

Expand The Comfort Menu

Comfort foods. Yum! We call them comfort foods because they make it easier to feel warm, safe, and full of goodness.

If that is all that is on our Comfort Menu, we're going to need to eat a lot. Comfort is an essential need. Our body craves and seeks comfort when overstressed or tired.

What if we extend the menu? What if we have 100 items on it instead of 5 foods we crave?

We start with what we know brings us some comfort. Yes, they may also bring some feelings of guilt. Still, if you turn to them for comfort (and distraction is a comfort), list them out.

Now, explore what else can help you feel more calm. Explore the senses.

What helps you feel calmer when you touch it? A furry friend? A smooth rock? A tree?

What brings more calm regulation of your body and mind when you hear it? Nature sounds? Certain specific songs?

How about smells?

Gentle movements… yoga… or stillness? (For some, meditation early on is a stretch, outside comfort. After a time, meditations might be right for your expanded menu.)

How about a nap?

Tastes, too, of course. Here, focus on whether the first taste or sip starts you feeling more calm and comfortable. Add those to the list. These can be a bit different from comfort foods, where fullness can matter more.

When we have an extensive menu of what can bring us comfort that leads to refreshment and calm, it is so much easier — when the time is right — to add just a bit of activation energy and confidence in order to re-engage with your heartistry.

Useful Questions

  • What needs of mine would comfort help meet right now? (Rest, Safety, Connection…)
  • From my extensive Comfort Menu, what is both available and nourishing for me right now? Which do I choose?
  • Am I using comfort to avoid feeling uncomfortable about a feeling? Or something that matters to me?
  • What would be a good time for this comforting experience to come to a close and for me to re-activate my energy for more alive engagement?


Related Concepts

Drop In. Tune To. Engage With!, Co-Regulation, Safety, Inspired Action, Primitive Brain, Trauma Informed, Useful Questions, Powerful Pause, Calm and Confident, Activation Energy, Heartistry


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