Calm in the storm


When a crisis hits and your body is flooded with adrenaline, the immediate impulse is for action.

“Something is not right, therefore something must be done” screams your brain, desperate to translate the panic it feels into action.

This can be helpful in situations which are measured in seconds or minutes.

But most crises are measured in hours or days.

Most crises require at least a degree of waiting.

They demand calm:

  • to properly understand the situation
  • to asses the relevant options
  • to weigh the risks
  • to plot the best way forward

All of these activities are nigh-on-impossible in a state of panicked action.

When a crisis hits, sometimes the best option is to take a moment to let the adrenaline go and allow calm to assert itself again.

For situations measured in hours or days, calm is gold dust and panic is a lead weight.

Calm is a superpower

A jetty over calm water in the Lakes District

Calm is often underrated, or overlooked entirely, but the ability to remain steady and focussed under fire is one of the most valuable qualities anyone of us can develop. Period.

The stoics called it equanimity and valued it so highly that it was a cornerstone of their entire philosophy.

In fact, you’ll find it difficult to name a major religion or belief system which doesn’t put equanimity and calm close to its centre (it’s just a shame they don’t seem to make better use of it).

Calm a superpower because it’s the best antidote to anxiety, and anxiety is a contagious, corrosive, cancer which can runs through groups like a wildfire.

But calm stops anxiety dead in its tracks.

Calm helps create herd immunity from anxiety and panic, it helps group and individuals remain resilient.

Calm is a powerful and generous gift in almost any situation, and best of all – it’s perpetually available to all of us, free of charge.

“Calm is a superpower” is a phrase I have shamelessly borrowed from Brené Brown.