How to Calm Your Mind
Finding Presence and Productivity in Anxious Times
From the author of Hyperfocus, a treasure trove of practical, science-backed strategies that reveal how the key to a less anxious life, and even greater productivity, is a calm state of mind
“After rebounding from his own burnout, Bailey devised a clear-eyed, concise method that marries science and self-help; he’s equally proficient in probing the roles of serotonin and endorphins while charting concrete steps in chapters titled ‘The Mindset of More’ and ‘Heights of Stimulation.’ Slow down, breathe, and submerge into these pages.” —Oprah Daily
A PENGUIN LIFE BOOK
It took an on-stage panic attack for productivity expert Chris Bailey to recognize how critical it is to invest in calm at the same time that we invest in becoming more productive. Productivity advice works—and we need it now more than ever—but it’s just as vital that we develop our capacity for calm. By finding calm and overcoming anxiety, we don’t just feel more comfortable in our own mind—we build a deeper, more expansive reservoir of energy to draw from throughout the day. The pursuit of calm ultimately leads us to become more engaged, focused, and deliberate—while making us more satisfied with our lives. And because calm saves us time by making us more productive, we don’t even need to feel guilty about the time we spend investing in it.
How to Calm Your Mind is our crucial guide to achieving calm, navigating anxiety, and staving off burnout. It explains how our digital world drains us, and what we can do to abate the hidden sources of stress that burden our days. Bailey has learned to embrace the analog world and “stimulation fasts,” to use the science of “savoring” to become more focused and present, and to relax without guilt—and he shows us how we can reclaim calm, too. In an anxious world, investing in calm might be the best productivity strategy around.
Productivity consultant Bailey (Hyperfocus) delivers a pragmatic guide to reducing stress. He recounts how experiencing a panic attack during a business presentation led him to search for strategies to fight burnout, contending that "investing in calm is the way to maintain and even grow our capacity for productivity." Downtime, he posits, can lessen anxiety and helps to percolate new ideas and break the addiction to stress, which occurs when one becomes reliant on the stimulation provided by such sources of anxiety as negative news stories. He recommends setting aside time each day to not worry about productivity and suggests taking up meditation, which lowers the level of dopamine that the body craves. Bailey is frank about the difficulty of seeking calmness and notes that self-care will likely cause guilt in readers who have an "accomplishment mindset," but he adds that such busywork as refreshing one's email can become mentally equated with accomplishment even though it's more stress-inducing than productive. Instead, he urges readers to take breaks, exercise, and eat more complex carbohydrates, which all increase calmness and productivity. Bailey's discussion of how dopamine and serotonin influence feelings of productivity brings scientific rigor to his observations, which are sensible and occasionally counterintuitive. This practical manual is worth slowing down for.