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Inspirational Australian Calm

blampied fire victoria australiaWatching the trauma of the Australian fires on the outskirts of Melbourne unfold, I’m reminded yet again of the powerful effect of Calm. Australians have to be some of the most chilled out people on earth, because their response to natural disasters ( in the last 12months they’ve had biblical-sized Locust and Spider plagues, devastating flooding, heat-waves and now 500 hectare fires) is pure and utter calm. Many were evacuated from their homes last night and thousands of others on standby to leave; yet Facebook and Twitter posts had no sense of panic. Concern, yes. Pragmatic planning, yes. People helping people, yes. Drama and panic, NO. Imagine if that was happening on the outskirts of London? Would we have been as calm?

We all have differing degrees of trauma coming in and out of our lives. More often than not, our response is to tense up, worry ourselves into a frenzied stressed state and frequently say or do things that fuel rather than put out the fire. Daily life in London is obviously more stressful than the idyllic Aussie lifestyle, so we’re never going to be as calm as them. But is this just us making excuses?

London has traffic, noise, riots, tabloids and long commutes putting pressure on our calm equilibrium, but most Australians have life and livelihood threatening natural disasters hitting them almost as often as we have political sex scandals. Our lives and issues are polar opposites, yet one could not say these Australians have less drama-inducing stress events than Londoners.

We could learn something from our Antipodean friends. Staying calm during times of stress or trauma might not solve the problem (or put out the fire) but it certainly helps us remain strong and sane, without adding any more fuel to the fire. But remember, if you’re not already in a calm state during day to day life, it’s much harder to achieve calm when trauma or high stress strikes.