By Leo Babauta
I’ve often been described as a “calm” person. I’m not sure if they really mean “boring,” but I’m happy to be calm most of the time.
When others are stressing out, I can help calm them down.
When things aren’t going well, I calmly take appropriate action instead of falling apart.
When things are falling apart, I can hold to the center. I can feel into the difficulty, and find the peace, the unshakable connection to everything around me.
I’m not saying that to brag, but in hopes that it will move others to try it as well.
If you’d like to be calm, to stress out less … I offer you this guide.
A Calm Motto
I recently offered this motto to my 18-year-old daughter, when she was stressing out about a situation she was facing:
“No big deal.”
I told her, “Just remember NBD. No Big Deal.”
Remind yourself of this motto whenever things are going wrong, or someone is frustrating you, or you aren’t getting what you want. No big deal.
Of course, there are some things that are a big deal:
You have a million things to do an not enough time to do it all? Not a big deal: pick the things you can do, and get to work. That’s all you can do anyway, so it’s not worth adding some stress to the already difficult situation.
Have a huge task to do that is going to be very difficult? No big deal. Just take the first step. Just get moving. You’ll deal with the difficulty.
Plans fall apart? No big deal. Figure out a new alternative.
Someone unhappy with you? No big deal. See their pain, give them some compassion, take the appropriate action to help fix things or go on about your business if it can’t be fixed.
There’s another way to look at it, of course: everything is a big deal. What we do matters. And in this way, instead of just letting ourselves be distracted or taking things for granted, we can give the act in front of us our full attention and love.
That doesn’t mean we need to get upset or stressed out about our situation though: while the act in front of us is a big deal, the situation is not a big deal. Life goes on. And it is delightfully beautiful.
When things are falling apart, when things don’t go your way, in addition to reminding yourself that things are No Big Deal … there are some practices you might try out: