Brene Brown defines it as “having no upcoming demands on your time or energy, when we are tranquil we relish the feeling of doing nothing.”
Can you pinpoint the last time you felt it?
You are far from alone if it’s a struggle for you to name a time.
Or, perhaps when you do start recalling times, you realize they are far and few between.
This may not necessarily be because you are not experiencing tranquility, it may be because you are misnaming it.
Last summer, I created a free, 30-day journal for greater emotional attunement. One of the activities within this journal is to begin expanding your emotional vocabulary and I point you in the direction of Brene Brown’s emotions chart from “Atlas of the Heart.” My mother-in-law went through the journal and said that this particular chart was really helpful because she realized she had been misnaming her tranquility.
What she thought was boredom was actually her experiencing tranquility.
And this got me thinking, are there other emotions we may misname for tranquil?
I think the answer is likely, yes.
I can confidently speak for American culture when I say we are a strive, achieve, push it to the limits, goal setting, hustling, constantly on the grind kind of culture. This can cause tranquility to feel like settling, laziness, selling yourself short, boredom, anxiousness or worry.
A few seconds of tranquil, consciously named or not, may cause a chain effect in your body that quickly transitions it to worry and anxiety because our bodies are so used to go-go-go. When we have a moment to stop and do nothing, our bodies assume that we are surely missing something. Or, our bodies are so addicted to that constant hurried pace that when we do have a piece of time to slow down, it is so foreign to our bodies that we go straight to boredom.
Awareness of the potential for tranquility is key to actually being able to sit with it and rejoice in it. The next time you feel bored, ask yourself, “Am I bored, or does my body not know how to sit in tranquility?” Or, the next time you feel like things are slowing down and then your mind starts to create an infinite to-do list, ask yourself, “Do I really have all this to get done, or is my body uncomfortable with feeling tranquility and unsure how to relish in doing nothing?”
The hustle and grind will always be waiting for you to return, but moments of tranquility will likely be encountered much less frequently. Beginning to shift your awareness and receptivity to tranquility will allow you to fully embrace the moments when it is there.
May you relish the feeling of doing nothing next time it arises for you.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC