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What is comfort? When does a person reach a state of utmost comfort physically, spiritually and psychologically?

In life we experience all sorts of feelings pleasant and unpleasant feelings such as joy, indignant, happiness, despair, vulnerable, thankfulness, perplex, blessed, tragic, jubilant, dominated, spirited, depressed, serene, delusion and peaceful. Emotions surface from the product of such feelings for example happiness, fear, admiration, sorrow, acceptance, hatred, pity, anguish, relaxation, sadness, security, insecurity, respect, anger, hope, hate and love, uncomfortable. We understand that bitterness is inevitable, it is uncomfortable but we experience it. Similarly, we experience good things that make us better and we feel comfortable in that situations. Ok, to uphold comfort in our life, it is a matter of prime importance to define what comfort meant to us, and know what the essences that genuinely contributes it.

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    May 18 2014: Comfort is in the mind of the beholder. For example, a woman giving birth is uncomfortable physically, but blissful emotionally. I read in book by Pema Chodron, about a man who made everything in his home absolutely the most comfortable it could be for him. He had the best of everything, from the temperature, the lighting, the softness of the pillows etc, was exactly the way he wanted it. And when he felt the slightest bit cold , he would turn up the heat and when he felt the slightest but warm, immediately the air would be turned up. And eventually he lost his tolerance for "discomfort". So then, when he walked out of his home, the temperature may be different, and that was bothersome and irritating to him, and so he spent more time inside, and eventually, going outside was so irritating, like touching a sunburn on the skin, and so he stopped going out of his perfectly comfortable home and he no longer interacted with others and never saw any friends and family and he died a very very comfortable lonely man.
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      May 21 2014: I try to be comfortable in my home and also dress comfortably for the outdoors.
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        May 21 2014: Yes Greg, that is what normal people do and that is what will keep you from becoming a recluse. It is only when we cannot accept the various feelings and moods that this life gives us, that we become closed off, angry and alone. I honestly believe that there are ways to make ourselves "too comfortable". When we refuse to do anything that bothers us, like remove the trash, or read the paper because it may have some bad news, or not answer the phone because it may be someone who will tell us something we don;t want to hear......that is when our interest in comfort has gone over the edge. We need to feel bad to know what good feels like. And we need to feel sad to feel true joy and peace. We must keep our eyes and mind open to the good and bad comforts that life has thrown our way, or else our strength diminishes.
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          May 23 2014: well, it's a little problematic, because if you refuse to remove the trash because it bothers you, eventually you'll experience a different kind of discomfort, which is the trash piling up, attracting flies, etc. If you won't read the paper because it may have some bad news, you may miss out on news you really need to know about. If you won't answer the phone because it may be someone telling you something you don't want to hear, you'll miss out on calls you really need to receive. I would say for myself, now, Amy, I try to follow the saying if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, in other words, I'm going to have to deal with some things that seem superficially unpleasant, but then I'll try to make something good out of them.
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          May 23 2014: for me, taking the attitude if life gives you lemons, make lemonade takes a number of uncomfortable things and makes them tolerable. I also frequently remind myself that though I may not always be succeeding enormously, I am always trying my best, and that helps me feel good emotionally.

          I know Colleen Steen often talks about life's challenges. I'll have to see if she has responded to this conversation, if not, ask her if she will.
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        May 23 2014: Greg, I got the feeling you did not read me right on this. I know that not doing these things is problematic - that was the point. You can't' just do what you want to in this world - for example, unless you are independently wealthy, you can't sit on the computer all day and not make money or else you will have another problem , which is no food in the fridge. Actually, even if you are independently wealthy, sitting on your butt all day if you have the ability to do something is not a great idea. You have to take the good with the bad. You refer to it as making lemons into lemonade, which is interesting - since you only drink milk, what will you do with all of the lemonade?
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          May 23 2014: well, I thought you were saying that a person who doesn't take out the trash refrains because they are comfortable not taking out the trash. I was just saying though that may briefly be comfortable, fairly quickly it will lead to the discomfort of piled-up, smelly trash, flies, and so on. So maybe to be comfortable you have to have the big picture, not just do what feels comfortable in the instant, but what leads to long-term, or continuing, comfort.

          Well, since it's only conceptual lemonade, maybe I can turn it into conceptual milk?
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        May 23 2014: Greg, As a Jewish mother, let me begin my response with a great big OY! - Apparently nobody else had a problem understanding my post - I just see some thumbs up, which I love!

        So, lets go over this one last time..... Yes, Greg, if you don't take out the stinky, sticky, messy trash because your are "uncomfortable" doing that - unless you have a maid - your going to have a problem. Same goes with not getting out and going to work because it is not "comfortable". In the words of my grandmother - "tough cookies"

        The people that are "uncomfortable" doing things that they expect others to do are for the most part either takers, moochers or lazy bums. So my question to everyone is....are you too comfortable?
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          May 23 2014: well, I thought I was supporting your idea, Amy, plus adding a little elaboration: that sometimes what is comfortable in the short-term can very quickly become a source of discomfort. Not sure how we're crossing wires here.

          I agree that under most circumstances one should should work despite discomfort, but it also seems like discomfort should prompt some examination. If I'm uncomfortable with my work, is this job a bad fit for me? Is there something else I should be doing? How can I pursue that? I think every situation in life that makes one uncomfortable ought to have one asking what is making me uncomfortable? Is there anything I can do to become more comfortable?
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        May 23 2014: So, Greg, How is your job working out lately? Or are you too uncomfortable to work? I know the answer, so can we stop this now, as my comments are already on the table - and I don't particularly care for this facebook style of chit chat. (no response necessary)
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          May 23 2014: well, I've never had a facebook account, so I don't know how people talk there. I don't think of myself on TED as doing chitchat, in fact I try to put thought into what I say here. What to you is making my responses seem like chitchat?

          Now from what I know, Amy, you've had serious medical problems. But you don't have a job, right? Does that make you a little hesitant to point accusing fingers at others?
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        May 23 2014: Okay Greg, This will be my last comment with you before I turn my computer off for the holiday weekend.
        (1) Who exactly was I pointing accusing fingers at? Are we a little paranoid?
        (2) The Facebook comment was in response to your mentioning that we are crossing wires. I was never intending my initial comment to be directed to you alone, or I would have never made it. It just seems funny that wires were not crossed with any other members.
        (3) Your back and forth response is much like so many other conversations I have seen, which looks like Facebook. And I don't like Facebook. Facebook is a place where people are generally looking for something to do, friends to make, and join in on conversations that go nowhere, much like this one is going.
        (4) Yes, I have been ill and while being autoimmune keeps me from large public arenas, it never keeps me from getting off my ass and carrying my own weight in this world. I have two home business up and running beautifully. The first is a candy making business. (hey who can be sad around candy?) and the second is a fruit basket business - (just to balance the consumption of candy) I don't need to go any further on that issue, unless you would like to place an order.

        And lastly, and trust me... this is my last note to you Greg. I don't require an answer and will be leaving for the Jersey Shore in an hour - Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
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          May 23 2014: Well, I apologize, Amy, I thought you worked sporadically, but I did not know you have true ongoing businesses. Congratulations, although candy is not the healthiest thing, and fruit does not "balance it out."

          I have admitted to you that I don't have a typical nine-to-five job, and I recall you being critical of me, and it felt like an accusing finger. You also talk on this conversation about "takers, moochers, and lazy bums," which is pretty accusatory.

          I guess all conversation is back and forth, whether it's on facebook or ted or anywhere else. Sure, I go on TED for something to do, and to make friends. Also to learn something and to share my own ideas. I would think all conversation is like that. Why, why do you make TED conversation?

          You know, I'm pretty sure living on milk would help with your autoimmune problem. Milk gives you nourishment, but is otherwise so easy on the body that the body can do all its other functions better. I'd love if it you'd try it, if it helped that would give me some ammunition as I try to convince the medical establishment to try this diet on various diseases.

          Well, Amy, do you believe there are people who just can't work, no matter what they do? What about the three million people currently in jail or prison in the U.S., do you believe those people could, right now, acquire the skills to work consistently and successfully at a nine-to-five job for the rest of their lives? If not, what keeps them from working?

          Aren't there economists who say we can never be at 100% employment, we'll always have at least five or six percent unemployment. Do you believe them, or do you think we could be at 100% employment?

          What did you do at the Shore?
    • May 25 2014: "Comfort is in the mind of the beholder" ----------- It is a spiritual,philosophical, and psychological truth but practically it is a Half Truth.

      When you feel thirsty then do you just think that it is in the mind and by just thinking that you will quench your thirst ?

      When you feel hungary then do you just think that it is in the mind and by just thinking that you will quench your Hunger ?

      It is true that Happiness,Comfort,Success and Satisfaction all are inside the mind . But they are partial truths.

      Are we all human beings as well as all the creature on earth live in isolation with each other ?
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        May 25 2014: Sinnest, I follow your thoughts and of course your examples are so true as they pertain to our bodies.

        And I see that you followed my thoughts as well that the level of spiritual comfort and peace that we have in our hearts helps to enjoy the physical happiness and comfort that we feel with our body and mind. If we are full of hate and anger, often times we may experience pain and discomfort such as a headache, heartburn and in a much more extreme level, even a heart attack.

        You point out they they are partial truths or half truths. Does this mean that without some of the mind and spiritual truths, we can't get to the full picture of what is making us feel comfortable? If so, that is such an insightful perspective. Lots of things have to fit together to create a true understanding of why we are or are happy or make us realize why we are unhappy.

        To some degree, I honestly believe that our inner peace can welcome more comfort,, while our anger can repel comfort.

        So, if two men are walking down the same path in the woods, the man with inner peace may not even notice the little twigs and pebbles that he is walking on and may stop and sit for a rest on a boulder that he comes across. His peace welcomes the comfort.

        The man walking the same path with a chip on his shoulder might complain about each one of those twigs and pebbles. And when he sees that boulder, it would never cross his mind that he could sit to take a rest, He just sees a rock.

        That example is where the comfort is in the mind of the beholder.

        There are many things that do not require emotional actions and thoughts to obtain comfort, exactly like the ones your mentioned. If you are hungry, of course the answer is eat. If you are thirsty the answer is to drink, Some things in life are just easier than others to figure out how we can use them to find comfort. Food and drink are the easy ones. And I think that how we look at things can make the others easier if we are at peace.
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    May 22 2014: When does a person reach a state of utmost comfort - physically, spiritually and psychologically?

    Abdinasser, have you given the insatiable appetite of humans a serious thought?

    Comfort, maybe. Utmost comfort? Unlikely!
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      May 28 2014: Rodrigo,
      Yes utmost... There's a level of contentment which you may refer the highest depend on what scale you use and how you measure... I'm not taking it to beyond human reach.. If someone appreciates life every time, helps the suffering people, smiles often, enjoy friendly environment then for sure he/she may feel a kind of comfort they regard as highest...
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      May 29 2014: Rodrigo and Abdinasser
      I think "utmost" is likely....depending on one's measure.

      Utmost definition....."the most possible; the highest, greatest, or best of one's abilities, powers and resources".
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    May 22 2014: Hello Abdinasser, and welcome to TED conversations:>)

    I wholeheartedly agree that we experience all sorts of feelings during the life adventure....everything you mention above and more!

    In my humble perception and experience, recognition and acceptance of ALL feelings leads to a consistent level of comfort or contentment. Know thyself, be in the moment with mindful awareness and be all that we can be with the information we have at any given time. My life experience tells me that we can discover deeper levels of comfort/contentment as we move through the different stages of life:>)
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      May 28 2014: Hello Colleen.

      Thank you for your insightful perspectives. I believe that contentment can be achieved when we accept the reality that every thing is certain and we should accept what life impose us that are beyond our ability to change as you've rightfully stated. We lost our beloved ones, we get humiliated by those we trust and sometimes we see that we're not where we're supposed to be. It is life. Life is journey. In every stage of life as we grow older and wiser, experience life's challenges increase and opportunities but acknowledging it, is the precursor of which one to choose that also lead us to enjoy long lasting contentment or dissatisfaction and afflictions. Personally, I believe to minimize the bad feelings you've to accept them and mitigate than questioning why it is happening and hating yourself which only increases.. the less you demand in life the more comfortable you will be..
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        May 29 2014: Thank you for your insightful perspectives as well Abdinasser:>)

        I totally is a journey from which we can learn, grow and evolve as individuals, while contributing to the whole. There are many situations along the journey that we cannot control, and as you insightfully say..."Comfort can be attained when we minimize our expectations". Letting go of expectations of how things "should" be is a big step toward comfort/contentment.

        I also agree that appreciation and gratitude for what we have is helpful....the beauty of our world....watching birds, flowers, enjoying the comfort of our head on the pillow after a long day (many people in our world do not have adequate shelter), washing dishes (this task reminds us that we have food), hanging laundry in the sun and fresh air (some people do not have adequate clothing). I appreciate every drink of clean water, because many people do not have that opportunity.

        We may have many challenging situations in the life adventure, and we have a choice regarding how we think, feel act and react to anything.

        I like this saying, which helps me put many things in perspective.....
        "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

        Whether we believe in a god (as you do), or not, we still have many of the same choices:>)
  • May 16 2014: The question is meaningless because different people will have different definitions. Therefore you cannot come up with a definition that will work for everyone. So what is the 'goal' of this question? You want some general terms like 'Food, shelter and security are Good.'? So what if they are? What effect does that desire have on the real world?

    Look at it this way: all those emotions and feelings you mentioned evolved because they were useful in certain situations. Elimination of them should not be a goal because then we will fail the next time we are faced with those situations again.

    Reading your question I was reminded of a line from a the show Life After Humans: 'People are nice when they are well fed and comfortable. When that goes away, people are no longer nice.'
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    May 15 2014: People are comfortable until something makes them uncomfortable in some way, so comfort is the absence of discomfort; the absence of an irritating stimulus.

    People tend to not pay much attention to their states of comfort; they pay much more attention to their states of discomfort. In comfort, the lack of unpleasant stimulation to the system leads to inattentiveness. Unpleasant stimulation wakes us up to attend to whatever is bothering us, whether that means simply complaining about this intrusion that has disrupted our comfort, or perhaps doing something to try to remove the bothersome stimulus or relieve the irritation.

    People also tend to identify with their discomfort - "I am so uncomfortable," or "I am the one who is uncomfortable." - which leads to suffering. In contrast, we are more likely to indicate that we experienced some time of being comfortable - "I felt really comfortable," or "It felt so comfortable."

    Because of this variation in levels of attention and identification, people tend to remember their times of discomfort much more clearly and intensely than their times of comfort, because we remember what we pay attention to and dwell on and identify with, and we forget what we do not attend to. In addition, over time in our memories, we also tend to exaggerate the frequency and degrees of our discomfort and minimize our experiences of comfort.
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    May 28 2014: Comfort can be attained when we minimize our expectations of life (base it on the reality not to be over enthusiasm) to avoid heartbreaks and dissatisfaction and appreciate what life has given us. comfort is optional; it depend us to choose it. We can feel relaxed of watching birds, flowers, insects. This stimulates our senses and we get moral and emotional strength. Your pillow can shore up the tiredness after long day's work and you get physical comfort which is very essential for the mental satisfaction as well. But, it depends on us to comfort ourselves of what we have even if it is small. Comfort is something common for both poor and rich. Sometimes, the rich who can afford to buy everything, to go everywhere and have the means to enjoy life, yet remains unsatisfied because the mental destructions of bad feelings caused by richness itself if it isn't wisely applied which is a major contribution of people committing suicides to escape the state of un-comfortability. A poor person who experience hardship may feel physical un-comfortability but can enjoy mental comfortability because the poor has accepted the situation s/he in. To maintain comfort to highest degree we should learn how to give, appreciate life, thank God of what He has given us, love and life principle centred.... I've observed that people of faith, people who believe God have enjoyed spiritual state of comfortability and I'm convinced and learned that this state is the ultimate state of satisfaction and happiness.
  • May 27 2014: When they learn to let accept things as they really are...and be content with whatever they have.. Nd not be too greedy...and realize is a journey......and that sometimes things get tuff...but u shouldn't give up. Paradise can be in possession of poor ... so u dont have all u eant but younhave , some is always good. Spirituality os good for guidance.....and most people should find hobbies things that interest dance art drama plays....shit like that....

    Im living in a soberliving home with no job...but im happy...ive accepted my circumstances..and that makes for serenity...
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    May 26 2014: comfort is reached when I bring myself back to a truth I hold to dearly, I am a soul on a journey.
  • May 25 2014: Here is a story about Akbar and Birbal.

    Akbar once asked to Birbal that when does a person feels confortable. In response to the question birbal said I will reply to your answer tomorrow morning.

    Next morning , both went to the river and started boating in the river. After sometime Akbar started to feel uneasy as he wanted to go to the loo. He asked birbal that he is feeling uneasy and he want to go to the loo. But, birbal behaved in such a way as if he has not hear what Akbar has said to him. And Bribal kept on driving the boat on the river. After some time when Akbar repeated the same thing, but again birbal paid no attention to what Akbar was sayaing.

    Finally, Akbar got angry and started to shout and scream at birbal. When birbal fell that Akbar has become completely uncomfortable due to pressure . Then birbal finally drove the boat near the bank of the river and both of them got down from the boat.

    But,After getting down from the boat Akbar ran like a rocket towards the forest to ease out himself from the pressure. When Akbar returned from the forest after easing out himself from the pressure , Then birbal asked how are you feeling.

    Akbar said , AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH so comfortable I am feeling.....

    Then Birbal said this is your answer to the question which you asked yesterday....
  • May 24 2014: feelings and emotions has been there as long as we have been living. so in order to understand comfort as well as other emotions we have to understand how they work.
    to my knowledge emotions are controlled by three nerves and enzymes they release . the most important one is the secretion of Serotonin which maintains sound emotion and cures emotional disorders. The amount of Serotonin within our bodies can be increased or decreased for instance Artificial light, spending long time indoors decrease Serotonin while walking barefooted on a grass, working outdoors sometimes increase the amount of serotonin in our bodies. so the more we know about serotonin the more we understand our daily emotional reactions.
    So to my point of view comfort and sense of satisfaction as well as other emotions are Biological phenomenon.
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    May 22 2014: Comfort was the theme of the yearlong BMW Guggenheim Lab project, which spent twelve weeks each in New York City, Berlin, and Mumbai, exploring this issue with scholars, artists, activists, planners, and people in those cities. Here is a link:
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    May 21 2014: comfort is first feeling physically good, not too much physical pain. After that, for me, it would be the absence of unwanted noise, unwanted noise makes me uncomfortable, such as my neighbor in the next apartment playing music that comes through my wall and I am forced to listen to it.
  • May 18 2014: Your disposition in profit or loss, victory or defeat is neutral, You have a point of view and side but if alternate happens you accept it without feeling down or dejected. That is one way.

    Secondly vista of your mind expands as you see your self just a part of ever larger space. The melting away of existence into larger one. Ultimately you do not say you are part of universe but are universe. Not in arrogant sense but as you say your finder are you. Jesus says wind and wave be he means how he sees himself.

    In Buddhism they call, :one is accomplished.
  • May 17 2014: When they are happy. "The purpose of our lives is to be happy"- Dalai Lama
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    R H

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    May 15 2014: I would say when needs are met, fear is low, safety is reasonably secured, responsibility is managed well, and a level of prosperity is accomplished. Then I would say 'Comfortable'. (-and everyone defines the mentioned 'themes' for themselves)
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    May 13 2014: how is the feeling of happiness different from the feeling of being comfortable? Or what is the relationship between the two?
    • May 17 2014: Everything is relative. You can duck into a muddy foxhole and be happy that barrage of violence did not hit you. You may not be that comfortable in the foxhole but it is more comfortable than taking a bullet, that's really uncomfortable.
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        May 21 2014: I wonder if everything is relative, Keith. Or is there a state of comfort that really is the quintessence of comfort, the perfect ideal of comfort, neither too comfortable, nor too uncomfortable?
        • May 21 2014: I think relativity applies to most things.
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      May 18 2014: I have just read an article about himalaists. Some really strange things happen to the human body and the brain when they climb above 7000 or 8000 meters. We can only imagine what it's like when the actually felt temperarure is around -60 Celcius and the wind is so strong that it makes breething barely possible. The simplest actions like eating or changing batteries in your flashlight take hours instead of seconds, not to mention problems with other, more basic physiological needs. So, in other words, their situation is the discomfort par excelence which is suffering. And yet, they cant describe their overall experience other than pure happiness. One that makes them addicted to it. The key to happiness here, however, being the voluntary suffering. They say you need to be willing to suffer like this in order to experience the bliss.
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        May 21 2014: this doesn't seem like discomfort par excellence. But doesn't it seem these guys build up to this, they start with little climbs, learning how to manage their gear, and slowly make bigger and more challenging climbs. By the time they are climbing the Himalayas, they are able to deal comfortably with the particular challenges the Himalayas represent.
  • Jun 6 2014: Comfort is the "resultant effect" of something, and unless we understand the "cause" of that "something" we will not able to have right answer to this question. Generally we tend to believe that if any or all of our [Five] senses perceive "something" as pleasant or comfortable, then we feel comfortable, else we feel other wise. However this "Something" which is comfortable to one may be completely uncomfortable to the other. For example a Metal Band music may be enjoyable to some and completely uncomfortable to some. Hence we cannot conclude anything decisively about the Metal Band music. This concept is extendable across all worldly things.

    Hence there is nothing in this world that can be classified as good or bad / Comfort or discomfort in generic terms, and is purely person dependent.

    Hence what is Comfortable is hat is purely driven from INTERNAL MIND. The way we condition our mind, will determine the extent of Comfort within oneself. Thus with Mind under our control, we determine what is comfortable. If not Mind will tell what is Comfortable and we need to abide by it.