Reaching for Comfort

Reaching for Comfort
by Starcat

When life proves intense or disappointing, we often reach for comfort. We each look for something different, but sometimes it’s not really healthy for us. We overeat, consume a lot of junk food, smoke or drink to get away from our emotions, or seek to escape in other ways that feel bad to us later. Reaching for comfort is not a negative thing in itself. For most people, having a drink now and then or eating ice cream after an occasional tough day is fine. There are also plenty of ways to comfort ourselves that will contribute to our long-term physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Here are a few ideas:

  • Love your pets. Animals are close to the divine source of life; they live mostly in the now. Petting a cat or dog will help you feel better. If you don’t have a pet, or you’re allergic, cuddling a stuffed animal can also cheer you up.
  • Take a bath or shower. Water relaxes your body, and helps you feel refreshed and cleansed. Once you emerge, wrap yourself up in something warm and just sit comfortably, enjoying the sensations.
  • Find a fun way to exercise. Exercising can have negative connotations; we think it’s just too hard, especially when we’re feeling low. But actually it helps us release tension and calms the emotions. If you can find something you love to do that’s also a form of exercise, dive in and enjoy it. Swimming, hiking, yoga, playing volleyball with your friends, roller-blading – do something that brings you joy and lets your body work hard at the same time.
  • Listen to music. Put on your favorite tunes. You can choose something upbeat to lift your spirits, or dive into moody music that resonates with your experience. Don’t do anything else, at least for a few minutes, other than listen to the tunes you chose. Notice how the music moves you.
  • Let it be. Rather than trying to change how you’re feeling, just acknowledge it. Know that you are not your emotions. They flow and will change naturally over time. Sit still with your discomfort, even if only for a brief time.

You might want to use one of these suggestions, or adapt them for your own use. Even better, create your own healthy comforts. Listen to your intuition, and discover what feels right for you in the moment. Experiment to find things that help you release your emotions and won’t cause any regret or guilt afterwards. May you feel comfort and relief, and find your way to joy and balance!