Author: Michael Easter
|The Comfort Crisis (2021) narrates the extraordinary benefits of embracing discomfort. It explains the lessons gathered by the author: Michael Easter while he spent a month in Caribou in the Alaskan Wilderness and in Bhutan.|
The Comfort Crisis will open up your eye toward all the opportunities you have been ignoring just because you have gotten too used to your comfort zone and the luxuries around you. While staying in bed, eating your favorite junk food, and binge-watching Netflix might be your preference it does not provide you with long-term happiness. Easter argues that comfort does not equate to happiness. Human brains and bodies are built for more than just rest and if we do not keep a balance between these choices we will never be happy in the real sense. Modern inventions have made our lives easier, quicker, and fast but do these inventions and luxuries make us happy? Keep on reading to find out!
The Comfort Crisis Key Points
Comfort vs Happiness
This is a debate that is similar to: ‘Does money make you happy’ because having money ensures that we can afford luxuries and live a comfortable life. Our lives are hardly a fight for survival as compared to our ancestors. Every day we wake up in our comfortable bed and linen sheets, brew our coffee, have breakfast that can be fully cooked in minutes, drive in a comfortable car that leads us straight to the door of our office and then sit in an air-conditioned area to work. If we get bored we can chat to our friends just by the tips of our hands.
This life is indeed very comfortable and luxurious as compared to the lives of our ancestors. But does it provide us with fulfillment, happiness, and meaning? Here, I am not advocating that we go and live back in huts and hunt all day for food. But the truth is modern life has only replaced our physical struggles with mental struggles of higher level.
So What Can a Human in the Twenty-First century do?
Of course, you cannot leave your house, shift to the wilderness where you cultivate your own plants, and hunt meat every time you crave barbeque. You can on the other hand incorporate physical activities like regular exercise into your regime. Some communities around the world still have such physical rituals and activities that involve all of the members getting out of their houses every weekend and participating. Similarly to improve our mental well we must face certain levels of adversity.
Remember a child raised with a golden spoon in his mouth does not learn more than someone who had to struggle. Adversity brings challenges but it also helps us to train ourselves for the hard times. We need a balance in our lives. Moving your body is as important as sleeping in on some days and facing challenges is as important as giving our brains rest every now and then. As in the words of Ido Portal: “The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. If you don’t move, your body will make you better at not moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.”
How many of us are actually comfortable with staying alone? If I ask you can you honestly say that you actually ‘enjoy’ your time alone? Very few people can say that they enjoy their time alone, they look forward to it. One of the greatest things that you can do during your self-improvement journey is learn how to stay alone. When you really sit with yourself and let go of the distractions, you will learn a lot more about yourself.
The author advises his readers to connect more with nature and let go of the distractions that will diminish the pleasure you can otherwise get from this experience. Learning to be comfortable in your own company is an art few people can master but those who do liberate themselves from a lot of mental fatigue. Spending time alone outside in nature has been found to reduce our levels of stress and anxiety. Such concepts exist in many cultures. One such experience is called ‘forest bathing’ where a person sits in the woods for two hours. Rituals such as hiking alone, going to explore the woods, and doing yoga in a quiet garden can do wonders for your health.
Know Your Stomach
This might sound funny to you but there is a lot more depth under this small phrase. If you want to grow you will have to learn to distinguish your ‘cravings’ from real ‘hunger.’ Eating pizza after dinner and justifying it to yourself by saying that you were just hungry is not exactly the truth and you know it. Food cravings are normal. You do not need to hate yourself for craving something. What you need to do is identify you have those cravings.
Science shows that when we are really sad and anxious we tend to overeat. So eat when you are really hungry, do not eat just because you think it’s dinner time and you have to stuff yourself with food. Fast regularly so that your stomach can restore its health and the next time you crave something to eat distract yourself with a walk or chat with your friend.
The Comfort Crisis Quotes
“We are living progressively sheltered, sterile, temperature-controlled, overfed, under-challenged, safety-netted lives.” –Michael Easter
“In newness, we are forced into presence and focus. Newness can even slow down our sense of time. This explains why time seemed slower when we were kids.” –Michael Easter
The Comfort Crisis Review
The Comfort Crisis is a great call for action. It will invite you to go out and explore. If you are someone who is afraid to take on challenges and try something new this book is for you. The writing style is simple yet effective. The author backs up all of the advice with several studies based on science and cultural experiences. Totally worth your time!
To Whom I Would Recommend the Comfort Crisis
- To the eighteen-year-old who is afraid of trying out new activities in college.
- To the thirty-two-year-old housewife who has forgotten about her passions and has succumbed to her comfort zone.
- To everyone who wants to learn a thing or two about feeling happy during their time alone.