In my many years (er, lifetime?) of yearning for an unyielding cocoon of comfort, I’ve got the drill down pat. Even though I know, intellectually, that I’ll never ride a continuous wave of content, part of me keeps thinking it’s only because I haven’t yet discovered the cheat sheet for it.
Alas, there is no cheat sheet. But when I’m able to stretch beyond my woe-is-me whine in order to tap truths I’ve left dusty for lack of putting them to use, dukkha sets me straight (straight-ish, to be completely honest).
The Buddhist concept is rooted in the stark reality that crappy stuff happens all the time—to me, to you, to everybody. It’s the mark of existence. But like a band of idiots, we resist it, in turn creating our own suffering, often convinced that the reason we can’t get our act together is because there’s something wrong with us or with life itself.
I’m here for you though, friends. We can still find creature comforts to ease our resistance and, on our noble days, to create powerful practices that recast our perspective.
Easy Ways to Find Comfort
1. Make a cup of tea (or a different warm and yummy drink).
You’ll feel better about yourself and whomever you’re around if you’re holding a warm drink, according to a study cozily titled “Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth.” Shouldn’t matter if this practice is put to use amid frigid arctic temps or a summer blaze, so go for it unless the weather is hot enough for you to want to plunge into an ice bath.
2. Engage in your favorite pastime or hobby.
I bet you follow this strategy already because the very definition of a pastime or hobby is something you do at your leisure in order to feel pleasure, comfort’s close cousin.
Enjoy watching YouTube videos of people cleaning their homes? Settle into a comfy chair (maybe with a cup of tea?). Your flight simulator soothe you? Zone out in the virtual clouds. Like to bake or cook? Find an interesting recipe that uses what you have on hand, or keep it simple and indulgent (hello chocolate chip cookies).
3. Sit or lie in sunshine.
If you do this outside, protect your skin (though generally 15 minutes of direct sun exposure, a few times a week and without sunscreen, is good for vitamin D production). Even if an umbrella shades you, the sun’s ambient glow will loosen your grip. If you cover your face with fabric, opt for light colors, so that you can sense the rays through your closed eyes.
If you’re inside, take cues from cats: Hog the light and spread out like royalty.
4. Listen to music.
Listen to music you love, but know that the most calming tunes are 60 beats per minute. That cadence does wonderful things to your brain waves. Yah. I know what you’re thinking: How do you expect me to know how many beats per minute music is? University of Nevada offers songs you can explore. It also notes that Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed instruments, drums and flutes “are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud.”
5. Be still and silent for (at least) 5 minutes.
If you’re always on the go, this suggestion sounds like torture. But I swear, based on my professional and personal experience, you’ll benefit from it more than your buddy who blisses out on doing as little as possible. You’re on to me if you can tell this tactic is a soft sell for meditation—strategy numero uno for creating comfort for ourselves.
A writer, ghostwriter and editor in the wellness realm, Mitra Malek has worked with some of the foremost thought leaders and practitioners of mindfulness and self-exploration. Still, she is a work in progress.