I really admire people who are able to sail through life, taking it all in their stride and calmly responding to challenges as they pop up.
I’m not naturally one of these people. Being more calm in difficult situations is definitely still a ‘work in progress’ area for me.
I can be pretty good at hiding it, but I do have some pretty strong (over) reactions at times – particularly when I’m a bit tired. I can get stressed and angry, be pernickety or go very quiet depending on the situation.
And this happens even after many years of meditation!
I guess one difference now is that I’m better able to recognise it.
I also don’t over-react quite as often as I used to – plus I’m a bit less self-critical when it does happen (while recognising I could of course have done some things differently).
A case for calm
Why does this even matter?
Well, for me, I felt like I was wasting energy on situations that didn’t matter – which also therefore means saving my energy for actions that actually matter (like looking after the planet, for example!).
I’ve also found the aftermath of uncalm moments can lead to some intense self-criticism. And this isn’t that helpful as it can lead to self-pity. And more wasted energy… You get the picture.
The truth is that being more calm can really benefit relationships – with yourself and others – as well as helping to manage life’s ups and downs a little more easily.
I really like the Cambridge Dictionary definition of calm:
peaceful, quiet, and without worry
The more you think about it, the more this definition covers living in a happy and contented way! Even a busy life can benefit from some peace and quiet from time to time. (But of course that doesn’t necessarily make it easy.)
When I look back, I think it was the aspiration to have some more calm in my life that sent me on the journey of starting Food At Heart and then launching Calm Cocoa. And it’s an ongoing journey, and probably not one that even has a particular end point.
I’ve brought together some of the things that I’ve found helpful over the 6 years of this journey into a gentle manifesto of calm, which you can find below.
I’m not doing all of these things, all of the time – and I guess this manifesto is partly as a reminder to myself! But doing a few things regularly and imperfectly is much better than doing nothing at all (or doing something only once).
Hopefully this will spark off a few ideas for your own journey of calm. I’d love to hear what resonates most with you…
A gentle manifesto for a more calm (and cocoa-y!) life
1, Do one thing at a time. The power of multi-tasking is a myth
2, When all else fails, take a breath
3, Your mouth, belly and mind will thank you if you eat a little slower and take time to actually taste your food
4, Enjoy the journey
5, Small acts of kindness have a big impact – and you may never know just how much they ripple out
6, Buy things not too often, and with love & care
7, Think & act local; it starts with tending your own garden
8, Chocolate is amazing – enjoy it & never include it in the same sentence as ‘guilt-free’
p.s. you can also download the manifesto below…