My mum has a trick for instant calm, passed down from her mother and her mother before that.
It works better outside or in a barn, but there’s plenty of ways to replicate it in modern life:
When you’re angry, dunk your head in a bucket of ice-cold water.
If no buckets are available, a tap or hose to the back of the neck works just fine. It’s possible to be disgruntled after a cold shower, but almost impossible to be angry.
For added effect, dip your toes in too. They can be hot, angry little fellas, but they do love a cold swim.
Did you know there’s a Toe Wrestling World Championship?
That’s another weird side to humans.
Pick any activity — and I mean any — and there’s probably an International Federation and a World Cup. There’s definitely a World Record.
It’s our competitive nature. Nobody wants to be the slowest when the village gets attacked by a saber-tooth tiger.
Just add agriculture and wait 10,000 years, and you get the World’s Greatest Cherry-Pit Spitter.
Of course, it’s important to try our best. But not everything has to be done to Olympic standard to be worth doing. And perfection is a poor excuse.
You can be awful at meditation or sudoku or singing and still enjoy them. And you can be terrible at picking up litter, running, giving to charity, or writing, and yet they’re still all worth doing.
Most things that are worth doing are still worth doing badly. And you’re never too bad to get better.
So, get out there and give it your worst shot.
It’s not always easy.
It’s not supposed to be.
And sometimes it really fucking hurts.
But that’s ok;
That’s what it’s about.
It still really fucking hurts.
So we shake it off.
We get up and get on.
Because that’s the reason we’re here.
Getting up from those knocks.
Climbing up to those peaks.
Or exploring the cold side of the pillow,
For just a little bit longer because it’s Friday.
It’s not easy being great every day.
So it’s ok that some days you don’t feel like it.
You’re already doing so much better than you give yourself credit for.
An hour spent stretching is just as valuable as an hour spent lifting weights, in the grand scheme of things.
So, give yourself a break from being great, and just be good for the day.
When you’re not feeling up to it — when you’re hungover, or tired, or grumpy — doing the smallest thing is worth so much more; especially if you wouldn’t normally do it on a ‘bad’ day.
On those ‘bad’ days, maybe being great just means reading something interesting or watching a documentary that teaches you something new. Or drinking that extra glass of water. Or ordering a large fries instead of your usual extra-large.
And that’s more than good enough.