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6 Simple Ways to Find Comfort in Tough Times

How to do your best, despite stress, from moment to moment.


When things go sideways in my life—a loss, a relationship struggle, work stress or frightening world events—I try to put at least some of whatever energy I have into finding ways to stay calm and comforted. Without such supports, I can’t be of service to myself or to anyone who might need my help in a crisis.

The famous line in Psalm 121 says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” Well, sometimes help comes from classic comforts—a favorite food, an old sweatshirt, the embrace of a friend or an inspirational text.

But some comforts are found in slightly more unexpected places. To navigate a tough time while staying on a positive life path asks us to be creative in seeking out support anywhere we can find it. Here are six that I turn to again and again.

1)  Comforting Smells
Scents from lavender to rose, cinnamon to vanilla, delivered through plants, essential oils or a soothing stovetop simmer, signal your brain to relax and stay in the present moment.

2)  Childhood Objects
Turn to simple items like a blanket, stuffed animal or even an action figure. These might be tucked away in a closet, but if they soothed you in your younger years, they can certainly do so again.

3)  Nature
It’s permanent, yet ever-changing. Being in nature’s presence can remind you that your life, like the oceans, mountains, and forests, can remain steady through a lot of change. Feeling awed by nature can also help you make better, more positive decisions in stressful moments.

4)  Reliable Reads
Cozy up to books that you have read again and again. My go-to is my collection of Cathy comics that I discovered during my teen years and never fail to ground me and put things in humorous perspective.

5)  Instrumental Music
It’s music that won’t invade your already-stressed mind with emotionally triggering lyrics, but will occupy your ears with soft, soothing sounds.

6)  Soothing Self-Talk
Positive self-talk can remind you what you already know—that you are loved, safe and strong enough to weather life’s storms. It can also help you let go of any guilt or negativity around how you feel you “should” be handling a crisis. There are no instruction manuals for tough times—doing your best from moment to moment is all you need to ask of yourself.

How do you find comfort in tough times?

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