Feeling cozy matters and seeking coziness is more than just a comfort measure–it’s a survival mechanism that boosts all aspects of health. How could this be? Well, that feeling of contentment that comes when you’re in a warm place, feeling cared for, requires you to feel safe. And safety is just such an important part of life. When you feel safe, your nervous system can quiet down and return toward balance.
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Whenever you DON’T feel safe, you’re on alert
Whether that’s a mild state of having one ear cocked for danger, or full on defcon 5, the more your alert systems are turned on, the lower your ability to rest, digest, and heal will be.
It all comes down to your nervous system. The autonomic nervous system, which rules the functions of the body that you don’t have conscious control over, is divided into two parts–sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is fight, flight, or freeze, and the parasympathetic is rest, digest, and connect. You’re either in one or the other. So if you’re stressed, you can’t really digest and heal.
Whether that’s by the scent of something cooking or a candle, or the feeling of a soft or weighted blanket, or because you’re snuggling with a pet or immersed in a hot bath–gets you into that parasympathetic realm. And that means those pursuits are absolutely not frivolous. They are health care–physical health, mental health, emotional health, and soul health.
From an evolutionary perspective, feeling cozy during winter is even more important, because humans were more vulnerable during the cold months when food was scarce and freezing to death was a constant threat. So the human body is kind of already primed to be on alert during the winter to insure that we’re warm and fed.
So really, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO GET YOUR COZY ON!!
Another positive aspect of getting cozy is that it’s a great way to self-soothe that’s not gonna kill brain cells or pump you up with too many empty calories, the way that reaching for alcohol or recreational drugs or entire apple pies can do.
I really learned a lot about how feeling cozy matters from becoming a parent, and from my son in particular
When you have a newborn, it’s all about making them feel safe and warm and swaddled, and really, we are all just grown-up babies. Also, my son became my true cozy mentor because he was one of those kids who always needed something soft on hand–preferably his blue blankie named Ba. When Teddy was three, he told me that he wanted to change his middle name to Cozy. I admire his dedication AND know that he’s on to some strong medicine!.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to make a list of things that give you a cozy feeling. I’ll share some ideas for how you can cozy up your life in tomorrow and Wednesday’s episodes, but just for today, capture the things that you already know give you that warm, safe feeling. Is it snuggling with your pet, smelling your favorite homemade treat cooking in the oven, listening to a certain kind of music? It’s a lot easier to ensure that you get into the cozy realm when you know exactly what to do to get you there.
And then once you write them down, can you choose one to do tonight? You know you want to–especially because now you know that it doesn’t just feel nice, it helps your being out in all kinds of important ways.
Come back tomorrow when I’m sharing 5 hacks to make your space more cozy.