Does comfort culture affect the environment?

Does comfort culture affect the environment?

Anything and everything that we do is not only based on our interests and aspirations but mainly what we are comfortable with and what we aren’t comfortable with.

Our brain makes 1000s of decisions everyday - even if you aren’t fully aware of it. You begin making decisions from the minute you wake up in the morning until the time you go back to bed at night. And it all starts with very simple decisions like the kind of breakfast you want to have that day or if you want to sleep on your back or on your side when you wind down for the day or how much garlic you should put in your dish and many others.

The common pattern or the underlying basis of all these decisions is on our comfort. We are all very much accustomed to our daily drills that we must have picked up since a significant point in our life or from our parents. We try not to stray away from them but when we do, we are very unsettled.

Somewhere in my reading routine, I have come across this term called - ‘comfort culture’. I was very amused by this. I found out that it basically means being dependent on the familiarity of something even though you know the outcomes of it.

There are so many things that we do in a certain way or get it down at a certain place. For example, this can be anything like watching your favourite show over and over again even though you know how it ends, having your favourite food from your favourite restaurant, giving away your laundry to the same laundromat, going to the same supermarket etc. It’s intriguing how we are somehow attached to little things yet it’s so profound to us.

Let’s say somebody asks these questions to you - Have you ever thought of trying out a different laundromat or buying your essentials from a different supermarket? Did you feel a bit uneasy somewhere in the back of your head when these questions were asked to you?

The familiarity of a situation definitely relays a sense of gratification to our minds and bodies. We thrive on that just like on our capability to make decisions. 

Let’s shift the lens towards a more pressing concern of the 21st century - Climate change and its obvious ramifications. The solutions are simple yet complex. Ironically, we struggle with the simple ones the most. 

Why do you think it is hard to talk about climate change and its effects without any raised eyebrows? Why is there immediate disbelief when we are told to make certain changes in our life?

Solely because we are stepping out of our comfort zone and stepping into an unfamiliar one with unknown outcomes. We are so used to consuming conventional products or services that, when we are asked to switch to eco-friendly alternatives, it stirs up multiple questions in us. ‘Why?’ is one of them though the answer to it is obvious.

In addition to familiarity, nostalgia plays a key role in the decisions we make as well - leaving us a  sense of familiarity while venturing into the known.

Later in life, when we have greater purchasing power, there is a tendency to lean towards buying products that we have grown accustomed to such as toothpaste, shampoo, dish wash etc. because of its enticing smell or its excellent cleaning effect.

The conventional ones are easily accessible and it is available even in small kiranas. Whereas, the eco-friendly alternatives might have to be purchased from certain stores.. The former doesn’t need any effort compared to the latter. 

But there is always an inkling to go back to choose our ‘usuals’. Nostalgia evokes a deep sense of comfort, which is not only addictive, but hugely enticing too. 

In this era, the information about everything is widely being transparent and many of us are being conscious about the essentials that we depend on. The way forward is to switch to the alternative eco-friendly products so that the increase in demands can make it more easily accessible and affordable.

The unfamiliarity is a villain - it holds us back because we fear.

We can put in a little effort and be open minded and may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome! Importantly, we will have to get comfortable in being a little uncomfortable. The results might take some time to unfurl but at the end of the day, we are saving ourselves and our future generation. 

That doesn’t mean you need to put yourself through difficult situations - it’s about finding that balance in what you feel is right for you and for the planet. Self-care is of utmost importance and we need to take care of our mind and body no matter how demanding our schedules can be. Comfort indeed is of utmost importance. 

Have you tried combining your routine with nature? Try to find a quiet spot with sufficient light and plants/trees and just sit. You will find how comforting it is to listen to the sound of leaves swaying and the brushing of little sunlight on your skin. Yet another comfort routine that you can include along with your line of favourite tv series, food and your other favourites.

You will not only relax but have immense gratitude for nature and all that it is composed of. Just another push for you to be a changemaker!

Written by: Sreelakshmi Kumar