One Little Thing: How to Keep Calm

One Little Thing: How to Keep Calm

In this busiest of weeks, at this busiest time of year, I am comforted by the thought that IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PANIC. … Okay seriously, there is one little thing that can keep you calm. That’s it, actually: one little thing. If you can’t bust the whole rock […]

In this busiest of weeks, at this busiest time of year, I am comforted by the thought that IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PANIC. … Okay seriously, there is one little thing that can keep you calm. That’s it, actually: one little thing. If you can’t bust the whole rock at once, then chip away at it. It works.

But first, breathe. I’d love for you to go to the gym, or meditate, or get a massage, but we’re talking quick fixes here, and you’ve got a lot to do. So breathe. Take a quick walk around the block, or down the street, or through the park, and just focus on your breath. When the “monkey mind”–as the Buddhists call it–starts jumping around, come back to the breath. I’m talking 5 or 10 minutes. You can do that. You will feel better immediately, I promise.

The always beautiful windows of Plaza Flowers, on the corner of Lexington and 69th Street in New York.

Then come back to your to-do list, and take it one item at a time. Don’t think about busting the whole rock; just chip away. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. Stay in the moment of that step. You already know this, but sometimes it helps to hear a thing again at just the right time.

And whatever you do, keep your sense of humor. My friend Alex Hitz said his grandfather used to tell him, “Son, you do what you can; and sometimes you can’t even do that.” Well, sometimes you can’t, and that’s okay. Guess what, giving yourself permission to be not-quite-perfect gives your friends and family permission to be not-quite-perfect, too. What a relief for all of us.

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