In my profession as a therapist who helps others with anxiety, what I’m really doing is helping them find some peace and tranquility in their lives. I was one of those people myself in my youth – almost always on edge – pushing for as much as possible. I did that until my body began to give out, letting me know I had to find a different way to live.
That’s when I began to value having tranquility, gaining an appreciation for it and understanding how essential it is to happiness. I used to think that the highs – far from tranquil – defined happiness. You might think that too.
Those highs are wonderful, and are sustainable only between moments of tranquility.
Tranquility is a feeling that nourishes life. It’s a feeling of being at peace. When I’m feeling tranquil, I am also connected and present; I like my world just as it is.
It’s the opposite of being stressed. Instead of striving for something else that I don’t currently have, I discover that I like the green grass on my side of the road just fine. Of liking where I live and am, happy to remain there, at least for this moment.
In 12-step programs, there’s something called a “geographical cure”. The geographical cure isn’t real, as anyone who tries it will soon discover. The reason for its failure is that we take ourselves with us to wherever we go. Gaining tranquility is something we gain by relieving the stress we created within ourselves, and no amount of moving will replace that needed inner work.
It’s harder for many of us to feel at peace right now; we are isolated and, even if for good reason, feel the unnaturalness of this isolation. There are a lot of things temporarily not in our control, and that can bring on anxiety.
If that’ true for you, knowing it’s temporary and unavoidable, how might you create a space for tranquility inside yourself? There is no one-size-fits-all answer; the things that will help others won’t necessarily help you. What’s your unique answer?
The habits of happiness
Quote of the Week
““When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere..”
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld
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