The Comfort Crisis by Michael Eastern took me by surprise. How could it be that the more cozy and comfortable it gets, the less satisfied we are? In this practical book we get to travel far and wide in a journey to discover the natural stressors that made us human who we are, and find out how we can reintroduce them to our lives.
Boredom is Dead
Boredom is dead. The technology killed it. Other inconveniences are diminishing as well: feelings of hunger, cold, physical exhaustion are becoming rare. Even that uncomfortable thing called ‘silence’ is rapidly being eradicated.
Now finally people can live a life of fulfillment an peace, right?!
Quite the opposite.. It’s seems like the further we stray from the stressors that our ancestors faced daily the more depressed, anxious and petty we become. Maybe it’s time to rewild ourselves?
“A radical new body of evidence shows that people are at their best— physically harder, mentally tougher and spiritually sounder- after experiencing the same discomfort that our early ancestors were exposed to every day.”
“Scientists are finding that certain discomfort protects us from physical and psychological problems like obesity, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, depression and anxiety. And even more fundamental issues like feeling a lack of meaning and purpose.“
In The Comfort Crisis we get to follow the authors investigation into why people get sick and depressed in modern sheltered and temperature controlled lives where food is plenty and our physical challenges are few.
Would it be possible that the antidote for many ailments of civilization actually be overcome if we made an attempt to rewild ourselves and voluntarily seek out discomfort? In The Comfort Crisis Michael Easter ventures out to meet the people, both scientists and discomfort practitioners, that argue that this might actually be the case.
3 Key Concepts from The Comfort Crisis
As we experience less problems, we don’t become more satisfied, we instead lower our threshold for what we consider a problem.
🔹The Toughening theory:
Scientists at Stanford stressed young squirrel monkeys by removing them from their family once a week for 10 weeks. These monkeys became more resilient and capable when they grew up compared to their sheltered siblings. They became leaders and doers. Similar results were found in humans who had faced difficulties in life.
A challenge you set up to test yourself that challenge you both physically and psychologically. A Misogi challenge asks: “What are you mentally and spiritually willing to put yourself through to become a better human?”
The benchmark for a good Misogi challenge is that you should have about 50% chance to make it… and that’s if everything goes right!
A book in itself is not worth much unless we truly implement what we learn from it into real life. Here are a few updates I made to my lifestyle after reading The Comfort Crisis:
– Added a reoccurring 24h fast the 1st Monday each month to get used to feeling of hunger (and to get the other benefits fasting provides, That I learned about in David A. Sinclair books Lifespan
– Updated my workout routine to include discomfort I.e running up ski slopes and under dress for cold weather.
– Scheduled my first Misogi. But I don’t know what it will be about yet.
The Comfort Crisis Book of the Year candidate for me. It a book that have influenced my thinking and provided the most practical changes to my life this year. It goes though a lot of aspects in which we can gain from going against our instincts and benefit hardships.
- How it good for us to carry heavy thing.
- How spending time in nature is of benefit for us mentally (and why living in cities is detrimental to psychological health.
- Why we are better of maintaining a healthy weight.
- How being through tough shit, makes us less petty.
There is a lot of good stuff in this book andnd it reminds me of David Goggins book Can’t Hurt Me in some ways, but its from a different perspective and has very–very—different tone. Both books got me to change habits and push myself harder.
In the end the author, Michael Eastern reflect o something his friends Galpin had said:
“If I said, ‘hey we are going for a two-hour hike.Or We’re going to dead-lift our body weights” or “we are going to do some grappling or kickboxing today” and that gives you anxiety? That’s a real problem. I’m not saying that those things shouldn’t be challenging but you should be able to do pretty much any physical activity well.” In our pursuit of better living we’ve allowed comfort to calcify our natural movements and strengths. Without conscious discomfort and purposeful exercise—- a forceful push against comfort creep— we’ll only continue to become weaker s and sicker.”
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5
If you enjoyed The Comfort Crisis then you might like the books:
Further reading on Voluntary Discomfort
If you want to know more about the concept of voluntarily throwing yourself into situations of discomfort then check out the article:
3 Books about the surprising benefits of Voluntary Discomfort