fast-paced world makes it easy for stress to burn a hole in just about anyone's
stomach. Work, family and a busy household take up so much time; people
often find themselves relying on "toxic comforts" simply to relax.
To help cope with life's stresses, people all too often switch on the television
instead of taking a relaxing bath with a good book, or chow down on fast food
instead of taking the time to make a healthy meal.
Patricia Alexander and Michael Burgos' first book, "The Book of Comforts," is
filled with easy to apply healthy and relaxing ideas to help readers unwind
The book draws from both Alexander and Burgos' personal experiences instead
of reading as a clinical list of facts and figures.
The book's simple philosophies are accompanied by short, personal stories told
by the authors.
"Our life was our research; it's who we are, and our hearts went into
the book," Alexander
"We take what was already in our lives and put it in terms that would
help other people."
The inspiration for the book came from Alexander and Burgos' focus to be as
healthy as possible and a desire to share their knowledge to give others the
same peace of mind.
Burgos has been a marriage and family therapist and Alexander has been a professional
writer for 30 years.
As a child, Alexander was overweight and became a constant dieter with low
self-esteem. Now she's discovered a healthy way to lose weight and has a happier
lifestyle, said the writer.
Burgos has experienced his own hardships, losing a kidney to cancer when he
was 2 years old and developing lymphoma at the age of 28. He also struggled
with constant back pain and attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Today, his struggle to find his own healthy comforts has given him great experience
for writing a self-help book to help others deal with stress.
The two came to the conclusion that they spent too much time using their own "toxic
comforts," such as fatty foods and too much television.
Today, Alexander said they try to live as consciously as they can.
"I give myself permission to have pleasure," Alexander said. "That's
hard for some people."
Alexander said they hope to write a series of books, and a pocketbook version
of their current book is in development.
Alexander said writing the book was a remarkable comfort. "We speak of
truth and write what we know, so it is a tremendous comfort every time someone
says, "Your book really helped me,'" Alexander said.
"The most important thing is to remember we have three areas: mind, body
and spirit," she said. Alexander said the best ways to find comfort can
come from life's simple pleasures. She said relaxation can be found in a walk
a nearby park, holding hands with a lovedone and by simply slowing down.
"Being outside is very therapeutic, and we can forget how nurturing it
The book offers many forms of comfort.
One idea is to have people confide their feelings to someone they trust or
write their feelings down in a journal. This allows them the opportunity to
vent and helps them process their feelings so they can move forward.
The two said readers can also find comfort in touch. Everyone needs to be touched,
and everyone needs to be hugged, they said.
People can do something as simple as hug more or even treat themselves to a
The artist, Dean Andrews, uses abstract landscape artwork throughout the book
to fill the 129 pages with complementary peaceful imagery.
Alexander said the first thing readers notice is the cover and said they are
comforted by their own interpretations.
"The artist understands the beauty of the book," Alexander said. "The
words of the book blend with the pictures, and people are comforted."
Alexander and Burgos self-published and said that it was an extremely hard
process to get the book to stores.
"I have to be 30 seconds ahead of what I need to know," Alexander
like getting a college degree; it is both fascinating and challenging."
Alexander said the challenge it presented created a better book. It takes an
enormous amount of commitment and time, sense of humor and patience, and it
definitely empties your pocket, she said.
The book won the Benjamin Franklin Silver Finalist Award for best new age spiritual
metaphysical book this year.
The Independent Book Publishers Association gives out the annual Benjamin Franklin
Award to recognize excellence in independent publishing, according to the association's
The publications are judged on editorial and design merit by volunteers from
all walks of the publishing industry, the website said.
This year more than 1,800 publishers submitted their books, and 54 awards were
given out at the ceremony in New York.
"The Book of Comforts" is available online from the website www.bookofcomforts.com
and at local bookstores.