Are You Finding Comfort in All The Wrong Places?

Which comfort or emotional support tool do you use in times of need?

Whilst walking on the beach in America this month, I was told by a “Baywatch”-type lifeguard that Rebel (my infamous workout partner and dog) was not allowed on the golden sands by the sea, unless he was an “ESA”

So, what IS an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

In short, an ESA is a person’s pet that has been prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist (any licensed mental health professional). The animal is part of the treatment program for this person and is designed to bring comfort and minimize the negative symptoms of the person’s emotional/ psychological disability.

This made me think….not about the fact I now had to leave the beach, but I suddenly become more conscious of the fact that we all get comfort from myriad sources, sometimes pets, sometimes people, and sometimes consuming – either food, alcohol or perhaps even shopping sprees.

Which leads to the subject of this week’s column, which comfort do YOU rely upon on a regular basis?

For most folks, the answer can be found in the following list: alcohol, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, bread, sweet snacks, drugs, crisps or chips, high sugar drinks, watching TV, playing video games, or perhaps even slamming down your credit card and buying a whole new wardrobe!

The above all can provide a quick fix if you are feelinglow. But in the long term, they can be harmful, to your physical health, your mental health, or your bank balance. And if we feel we have no control over our daily habits or behaviors, we often get a strong urge to comfort ourselves – with more of the same harmful consumption!

But like all compulsive behavior, if you can channel it to something positive, the benefits can be huge. Consider the following list of comforts or emotional support tools to turn to: A healthy shake, talking to a friend about a problem, going for a walk, meditating, exercise, therapy, dance, reading a self-improvement book, yoga, sitting in the sun for a few minutes, boxing, deep breathing, listening to an inspiring podcast (like a Ted Talk for example), or hanging out with your dog…on the beach of off it!

In times of need, we all need something to feel good again and get COMFORT – maybe in the future in 2017, we can consciously choose something that has long term benefits too and realize that we all have the power to decide a better way to love ourselves and support one another.


Rick Parcell • Master Coach