are times when we are out in the world & need a little - or a lot - of extra comfort. Times when we are nervous or scared,
feeling vulnerable or unsure of ourselves, or just not very confident. A new job, a speech we have to give, a new situation,
a group where we don’t feel very welcome, or just when you’re feeling stressed out. Or, for survivors, facing
something triggering, frightening, or painful. It’s times like those that portable comfort can come in handy. Portable
comfort means bringing something with you on purpose that helps you to feel comforted & reminds you that you are safe
& loved. There are many different ways of bringing comfort with you - and they don’t all have to be obvious. I take
portable comfort with me whenever I leave the house. I have things already placed in my backpack, the pockets of my coat &
sometimes even my jeans, so if I forget to bring something extra with me, I already have something with me. And I always wear
the same necklace; it’s always with me. If you have time before you leave for the day, it’s a good idea to associate
whatever good feeling you want to remind yourself of (comfort, safety, love) with the object. To do this, take a moment &
remember when you felt comforted, safe, or loved. Hold that feeling to you. Now imagine that good feeling flowing into the
object. Tell yourself that whenever you see or feel or notice that object in your day, you will be reminded of that good feeling
& feel it again. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can take some portable comfort along with you:
carry things in your pockets.Things that you
put in your pockets are usually better if they’re small. You might carry something like:
· a small stone (a stone from the water, or a polished amethyst),
· a small pewter figure or object,
· a picture with a backing on it or laminated or plasticized (like a picture in
a key chain),
· a small squishy toy, etc.
wear a necklace that makes you feel strong
or good or happy. The necklace can go under your shirt - no one else has to see it – and you can feel it against your
skin & be reminded of the safety. Or you can wear it outside your shirt & let yourself see it. The necklace might
be one that someone special gave you, or one that you picked out & were drawn to. You might pick a necklace with:
· a stone that you like the colour or properties of;
· an image that makes you feel good or has special meaning to you;
· a locket with a picture of someone you love, who loves you back;
· a shell;
· a small vial that you can fill with calming essential oil;
· a pouch that you can put a stone in or something small that makes you feel good,
bring along a comfort bag. Comfort bags are
bags (small, medium & large sized), that contain all sorts of things that make you feel good & safe. I have numerous
comfort bags, mostly little ones that I can put inside my backpack on different days, according to what I’m feeling.
A comfort bag might contain:
· a pen & paper to write with;
· a stone to hold & look into; a card from someone you love;
· a cd player & music that calms you;
· a book that makes you feel good;
· some small toys that make you smile;
· a small pewter object or worry stone;
· a vial of essential oil that is calming (lavender, chamomile, rose) or that makes
you feel good or just smells good;
· a small stuffie;
· a small stone;
· and any of the things mentioned in this article, or anything small that makes
you feel good.
Basically, you want to
try to get something that makes you feel good from each category: smell, touch, feel, taste, sight.
wear an article of clothing that makes you
feel strong or comforted. The clothing doesn’t have to be something other people see; you can wear a t-shirt, sparkly
undershirt, or a favourite pair of socks underneath your clothes. Or you can put on that favourite shirt or pair of pants
& every time you look down at them, feel good.
bring a MP3 player, CD player, or walkman with
you. Put together a mixture of music that you find soothing or uplifting & bring that with you. Or you might want to bring
along a tape made by your therapist, friend, lover, or yourself, that tells you the messages you need to hear, or reads aloud
your favourite book. You can also take along a relaxation tape.
take some small snacks or food you can fit
into your bag, purse, or backpack. Food can be both a comfort & a help in balancing how you feel. If you go too long without
food & your blood sugar drops, you may not even notice or connect that you’re feeling lousy because you haven’t
eaten – but it can happen. It helps to bring something you can just nibble on when you get hungry.
You might want to pack:
· something sweet from your childhood that makes you feel good - like a certain
gum or candy or chocolate;
· fruit - an apple or orange;
· a little snack pack of crackers & cheese, a granola bar, or trail mix
· cut up veggies
· bottle of water or juice
bring along a comfort book A comfort book is
something you create for yourself, by pasting or drawing things onto the pages. It’s a small notebook or sketchbook
filled with things that make you feel good:
· a letter from a friend;
· photos of people you love;
· images that make you feel good (you can make colour photocopies of a few pages
out of a book, or scan them);
· little cartoons that make you smile, etc.
bring a good-things-about-me booklet A Good-Things-About-Me
booklet is a little booklet or notebook that you write good things about yourself in. It can be very hard to write good things
about yourself, especially if you don’t believe them, but writing good things & reading them can help you believe
them. You might also want to think about the good things other people have said about you & see if you’d like to
include those, too. Or you might want to ask a friend, therapist, or lover to write out some things you can include.
bring some small vials of essential oils, or
some smell that makes you feel good Smell is one of our most powerful senses. Something that smells good to us can lift our
spirits. Think of a warm cinnamon bun, or a freshly cut orange. Essential oils have properties that can help ease depression,
lift spirits & soothe the soul (when used in conjunction with other things). They are espeically nice because they are
natural &, in my experience, they really do help. You might want to use these oils to:
· lift your spirits: orange, ylang ylang, bergamot
· calm & soothe: lavender, chamomile, rose, jasmine
· increase confidence: bergamot, grapefruit, jasmine
carry a small tincture. You might want to tuck
a small tincture into your pocket or bag. Bach remedies is one such brand of tinctures. Rescue Remedy is the most famous remedy.
Many survivors swear by it. I found that Rock Rose really works for me when I feel terror. You might want to think about what
feeling you need help with – panic, fear, depression, pain, loneliness, feeling unequal – and then search out
the appropriate tincture. Try it out for a few weeks & see if it helps you.
Carrying around some
form of comfort & having it available right when you need it can help ease anxiety & stress & give you reassurance
when you need it. I’ve found that just knowing I have a comfort bag with me is sometimes enough – and other times,
I am grateful I have it with me to dip into. You might want to try carrying around some comfort & see if it makes a difference
in your life.