The Art of Being Calm and Contented

By Shweta Patil

How the day of a normal person commences, They wake up –  Shower > Go to school/workplace -> Come back > Sleep and evidently eat those delicious meals. Basic cycle of eat, work, sleep and repeat. In this journey we are somehow jumping on a trampoline called life, going through those ups and downs and trying to maintain our balance.

Here’s my secret to finding those small moments of happiness, like a treasure buried on dark island of worries. I am certainly not a sacred zen monk, who would advice you to meditate for 8 hours a day and live a life away from materialism and deeds of the world. I would really love to do that myself, but it is not seemingly possible to achieve that kind of detachment, when we are living in society based on social constructs.

So what are the plausible ways of maintaining our composure?

Here are my sure shot, time-tested techniques —

  1. Pour your love in something/someone

There’s this ancient saying that “love conquers all”, which, whenever I read/listen to, that grandiose picture of Romeo-Juliet comes before my eyes. But is this only limited to that? Nope, surely not. You can pour your love in anything, it could be your pet, your family, your spouse, or for my workaholic people, their job.

In this modern world, love is treated like money, we hesitate before giving, question after receiving and hide like someone is going to loot it. Yet, the sheer joy of giving is way above that. For me, it is a simple gesture of watering my plants.

For me, that stable factor are my plants. For you, it could be your pets. I have a friend who adores her cats, (and I mean cats, she has 16/17 of them, which I wish to pet one day). You do not have to bring a pet/plant home, I am emphasizing on nourishing your existing relationships. It could be as simple as saying Good morning/Good night to your spouse and/or Giving your child a hug before leaving to work.

These small moments compound over time and your bucket of joy fills up to the top. Identify something which takes less than 2 minutes of your day, so that you can sustain it over time easily.

  1. Your urgency is not my emergency

How often it happens that, we are working on some scheduled task with utter concentration and someone/something comes all of a sudden and asks for our complete dedication to them/their task. This makes us lose our rhythm as well as the state of deep focus, which when done repeatedly makes us prone to irritability, stress and anxiety.

This situation largely occurs at the work front, where emails, meetings and skype pings fight for your attention. In moments like this, it’s better to wait 1 to 2 minutes, instead of responding them hastily. You do not have to avoid them all together, read that email, look at that meeting invitation and then stop. Breathe. It gives you the time to comprehend it properly, understand the context and then to come out with all the logical and analytical solutions.

Establish a breathing pattern where you exhale longer than you inhale. A simple strategy is, Inhale — till count 4 and then exhale — till count 6. This lowers your heart rate and brings it to a stable pace, which may have increased due to that chaser mail from your boss. This is one of the meditation technique, I got to know from Jeff Warren, an expert in this field.

  1. Living in a Bubble

This may sound controversial and contradictory to what we have been told all our lives, regarding how to network, how to remain up to date and what’s happening all over the world, etc. Here, the concept is not to deny all these or transform yourself into someone living in a cave, but being selective on what you consume as information.

I grew up in a household, where my parents were habitual to watch breaking news along with breakfast and prime time news at dinner, It was unquestionable for me to repeat the same. I was that nerd child in school, who used to talk about all the scientific and technological advancements happening around us. But as the news bias leaned towards reporting more negative events, it became inevitable for me to stop watching it completely. I used to wake up suddenly early in the morning by hearing the elaborate description of disheartening crimes of murder, human trafficking, organ smuggling etc. That was my breaking point and I stopped watching news and asked my father to delay it till maybe 9am, when everyone is awake and in the proper consciousness.

Today I have love-hate relationship with it, I have deliberately limited my news exposure to a particular time as well as space. According to a study, it takes 5 positive news to conquer one negative news. Even though it does not seem harmful, but negative things do damage your subconscious thinking.

It not only applies to news but also to the social media accounts you follow, the people you interact with, furthermore the media content you consume. Key point is, take care of your mental wellbeing. Do not let yourself drift into the river of negativity, be the sailer and navigate your raft. The topic of social media and your circle demands discussion and deep thinking, so leaving you with it, do rethink your preferences and let me know your point of you.