The Value of Calm

Posted on

I was recently asked whether I could oversee a group work session, for no other reason than to create a calming environment.

I couldn’t really believe it. I let the request sink in for a second and replied with “wait… you just want me to be there so that they feel calm?”

This personality trait of ‘calm’ is something that I’ve been aware of in myself for a long time. But I never thought it was particularly valuable. 

Sure, people often come to me when they feel overwhelmed, and I’ve heard “you have such a calming presence” more times than I can count. But it was never something that I thought was of much value, outside of providing others a brief escape from stress.

Quite the contrary, I’ve been told for most of my life that I need to be louder and more assertive. That being the way I am was holding me back. My gentle nature was something that I have often felt ashamed of. It was something that needed to be fixed somehow if I wanted to reach my full potential. 

Having my calm presence suddenly valued in this way got me thinking about the potential benefits of this trait. Specifically, whether there is a link between calm environments and creativity.

Turns out, there is!

Being in a calm state gives the subconscious mind an opportunity to think, to wander, and to find connections between seemingly unconnected things. It also allows us to feel more comfortable with ambiguity, which facilitates problem solving. 

Basically, being calm is a superpower for creativity.

Now that I know this information, a lot of experiences in my life suddenly make sense. It’s why I get my best ideas while on long walks, or sitting on the beach listening to the waves crash on the shore. 

These activities used to feel like luxuries. They were often accompanied by a feeling of guilt for wasting time that could be better spent doing something ‘productive’. But I had it all completely backwards. They are actually an essential part of the creative process.

Awareness of this superpower has led to an interesting mindset shift. I’m now quite proud of my gentle soul. I’m moving through the world with much more ease and confidence. And I can see now that it influences others in a positive way too.

So to all the gentle souls out there – you have something very important to offer. I urge you to let your gentle nature take up space and see what happens.

2 Replies to “The Value of Calm”

  1. This is valuable information, but my question would be, can calm be learned? For all intents and purposes I appear to be calm but on the inside I am often filled with anxiety…which then of course gets in the way of creativity. Just wondering your thoughts. Thank you!

    1. Hi Cate! Thank you SO much for this question, it has really got me thinking. My instinct is to say yes, calm is something that can be nourished/learned. I think that it’s something that can be worked on from two sides – on the one hand, noticing the activities/environments/people/thoughts that help you to feel calm (and prioritizing those things), and on the other hand, unlearning/challenging things that produce the opposite. I’ve definitely experienced that block to creativity that you described when I feel anxious, and it helps me to stop and think about what thoughts I’m having in that moment (e.g. am I worried about the outcome before I’ve even started, worried about time, or feeling like I should be doing something else) and I try to challenge those thoughts. These things are definitely not easy when you live in a society that is obsessed with productivity, and (for women in particular) being calm is often tangled up with things like people-pleasing. This is such a huge topic once you start thinking about it! I’m planning on researching and reflecting on this more, so will keep sharing my thoughts on this blog in case it’s helpful! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *