1-Sentence-Summary: The Comfort Book explores how depression feels like and its effects on our mind and body, and how we can overcome it by taking small, but significant steps in that direction, starting with finding hope, being more present at the moment, and acknowledging that we’re enough.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Depression can hit anyone, weak or strong. Contrary to popular belief, this negative state of mind doesn’t always display obvious clues for the exterior. These clues are what we know as overwhelming sadness or sudden bursts of tears. Sometimes depression may come dressed up as a loss of interest in the things you love, insomnia, or numbness.
In the toughest moments of their life, people lose the sense of clarity and feel as if there’s no way they’ll be happy again. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel is difficult. However, if you trust that there is a way out of your situation, although you don’t know it yet. The key is to keep pushing forward, one step at a time.
Oftentimes, people end up losing their will to live, and that is when they hit rock bottom. Matt Haig knows this feeling way too well from the times when he was battling depression. In fact, he once hit a point so low in his life that he was ready to jump off a cliff. What stopped him and allowed him to keep going is what you’ll learn in Matt Haig‘s The Comfort Book.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Don’t trust your brain completely when you feel depressed.
- When you feel low, find hope in someone else.
- Saying no can be healthy, finding friends is a must, and acknowledging your pain is necessary to get over it.
Let’s explore these lessons in detail and learn some key points from each and every one of them!
Lesson 1: Depression can lead to a faulty thinking mechanism in your brain
There are certain times in our life when we feel as if there’s no escape from a situation. Sometimes people feel stuck in their relationship, jobs, or other life circumstances. They feel also like there’s no way to break out of them. Depression can accentuate these feelings and give them power over you.
That’s when you need to realize that not all of your thoughts are to be trusted. When your brain is flooded with negativity, your thoughts can become inaccurate. That’s when you need to zoom out and take charge of your thoughts. Acknowledge that your depression doesn’t define you, and that life is full of ups and downs.
Sometimes it may take longer than usual to recover. Eventually, things will go back to normal, if you allow them to. In times of despair, try to recall happy memories or anticipate the future the way you want it to turn out. This can help you get inspired and energetic. This will also help you alleviate negative emotions.
Moreover, try to think highly of yourself and enumerate reasons to feel pride and fulfillment. This can improve your self-esteem and make you want to take action. Remember that there is more to life than your depressive episode, as you may be a spouse, a friend, a parent, or many other things to a lot of people who enjoy your presence.
Lesson 2: Get inspired by learning about other people’s stories
Sometimes it takes more than one perspective to change your outlook on life. When you find yourself in a situation where you feel like losing faith, don’t be afraid to borrow it from someone else. How? Get inspired by the little stories you hear from your friends, acquaintances. Look for other people’s inspiring journeys to motivate yourself.
You can look up stories from people just like you, who’ve gone through depression or negative, traumatic events in their life and made it. You can find inspiration in similar cases to yours, or completely different stories from people who managed to survive, push through, and create a beautiful life afterward.
Hearing out someone else with whom you identify can help you find the motivation and energy you’re lacking in your life. For example, people who struggle with their weight loss journey often find motivation and relief in those who were in worse shape but ended up becoming active, healthy individuals.
Hence, you too can find your motivation, especially in today’s world, where technological advancements and the digital environment make it easy for everyone to connect and look up information. Find your sources of positive energy and follow these people’s journeys, and in your low days, just borrow some faith from them.
Lesson 3: Learn to say no, find a support group, and acknowledge your situation
Sometimes self-care doesn’t imply a long bubble bath, or a glass of wine by yourself, but rather saying no when you feel like it. When you set boundaries for yourself and communicate them, not only will it make people respect your time more, but it will also make room for other activities to which you can respond with yes. Saying no doesn’t make you rigid, but rather it makes your self-esteem grow.
When you find people who are willing to respect your limits, you can proceed with developing a healthy, supportive relationship with them. In fact, this is exactly what you should do, especially if you’re facing depressive episodes in your life. Search for a group of friends with whom you can share your thoughts when you feel low.
They can be your online or real-life friends, but the point is to have them by your side if the situation asks for it. Oftentimes, standing in a group or feeling people’s company can improve our mood and feeling of belongingness. This can alleviate the emotions we get from certain difficult times.
Lastly, learn to deal with your pain by acknowledging it. Similar to rain, which occurs no matter how hard you try to fight it, pain exists until it goes away. It’s that simple, but only if you acknowledge it, feel it, then let it go away as days pass by. Keep in mind that no matter how hard you try to fight it, either by taking medication or actively shutting it out, it won’t go away, until it does.
The Comfort Book Review
The Comfort Book is, in fact, exactly what the name stands for. This easy-to-read guide for alleviating negative emotions can help anyone who’s battling depression. It can also help those who are struggling to find joy in their life regain their lost powers. The author empathizes profoundly with his readers and delivers advice that once implemented, can soothe the ill heart, the anxious mind, or the misery of someone who feels broken inside.
Who would I recommend The Comfort Book summary to?
The 30-year-old person who feels like they haven’t advanced in their life sufficiently compared to their peers. The 28-year-old single mother feels like giving up on her difficult days. Lastly, the 45-year-old divorced person finds it hard to start all over and be happy again.