You may already be under the (false, unfortunate) impression that a calm life is a boring one, but I am here to destroy that notion in the most loving way possible. Peace is not boring, the way we sometimes imagine it to be. Because peaceful people don't go through the highs and lows of intense (but ultimately, very unfulfilling) emotions, they seem to be placid all the time, which translates to us as unappealing. A peaceful life does not mean a less fulfilling one, it just means one where we aren't suppressive of any emotions, so we're able to maintain a more grounded, aware state. Essentially, we experience everything just like before, just without some of the madness that comes with feeling angsty or uncertain or uneasy within ourselves. (Doesn't sound too bad now, does it?)Likewise, when we imagine having a "calm, peaceful life," what comes to mind is probably something along the lines of lighting candles and taking long, hot baths while drinking organic tea and reading the Oprah magazine. Yet while all of those things are nice and have their time, the art of really infusing more calm into your life happens in shifting your habits regarding the parts of your life that are most intense or demanding. That is to say, a hot bath will not fix your work anxiety. Changing the way you work or think about work will fix your work anxiety.
But it's often hard to know where to start, and that's understandable to. So here are a few ways to make your life feel more peaceful, while not compromising on anything else you care about to do so.
Do Things As They Come Up: Answer Emails As They Come In, Pay Bills As They Arrive, Clean Dishes As You Dirty Them
This generally just creates a sense of flow in your life. The problem is never that you dirty dishes, but that you dirty dishes and let them go for two weeks. Not only do you have an hour long, gross ass mess to clean up, but you're stressed about it for days as well.
Do One Of Two Things First Thing In The Morning: The Thing That's Most Important To Do, Or The Thing You Least Want To Do (But Need To)
Give your clear mind and total energy to the thing that needs it most. You'll be able to generate energy to do the rest simply because you actually want to do it, so focus on what needs your undivided headspace or a little motivation you otherwise won't muster up.
Keep A Planner
A real one, not just a Google calendar. Write down reminders, and then fill out your "to do" first thing in the morning. Just writing it down and setting the intention to get it done will help motivate you, and being able to cross things off as they're finished will feel so rewarding.
Make People A Priority, Not A Chore
Schedule time specifically for spending time with the people you love. Plan for an hour at night to talk to your significant other, no laptops, phones or distractions allowed. Plan for 15 minutes of snuggling your pet, or calling your mom.
Make Time To Keep The Little Things Organized — Like Your Bag
This sounds really simple and maybe a little stupid, but it's actually a huge stress relief when every time you reach for your bag, what you need is right there. Keeping things organized is not a matter of organizing them once, however. It's making time to keep straightening and cleaning out. It's a manner of upkeep more than anything else.
Compartmentalize Your Life
Leave work at the office and home life at home. Be able to shut off your phone and focus on the moment during a dinner out. Learn to compartmentalize your time so your stress doesn't bleed from one thing to the next. It takes a little bit of brain training to master, but it's so worth it in the end.
Do Brain Training
Whether it's meditation or Sudoku or crossword puzzles or not focusing too heavily on overly-negative thoughts, learn to train your brain. You may not choose what you think all the time, but you always choose what you focus on.
Learn To Be Direct
The more you suppress, hide, cover and deny your feelings about one thing, the more they're going to begin to affect everything else. Tell people how you feel in a productive, but honest way. It's a learned skill, but an important one.
Figure Out What Actually Relaxes You, And Make A Point To Actually Do It
It may not be what you typically think of as a "relaxing activity." For a lot of people, taking care of overdue business is relaxing, going to sleep is relaxing, doing work they love is relaxing. It's not always a passive thing, and you have to take time to figure out what works best for you.
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