Imagine a truly grumpy, anxious baby. Does one exist? When I think of babies, I think of smiling, belly laughing, cooing, drooling tiny humans who when they look at you, you melt. Sure, sometimes they don’t sleep, they cry when they are hungry or tired, and colicky babies… well, that is tough. But babies will be babies. You may be wondering where I am going with what seems to be mostly true statements. Well if they were like us, babies could be really grumpy or really anxious. What do I mean?
Imagine for a moment the tasks ahead of them. Usually, they don’t have much hair, can’t walk or talk, can’t swallow solid foods, and can’t control their bladders. While this may be our fate when we are old (hopefully not), babies unknowingly stare this in the face everyday. Plus, recent research suggests that they also unknowingly care about their social interactions and social strata in life. Yet their default is to be laughing, smiling, cooing, and sometimes they just lay on their backs and kick, kick, kick! If they were like us, they would be worried, anxious, Googling machines. They would ask questions such as, ”When will I get some teeth? When will I walk or talk? How do I dress myself or feed myself? What if I fall down when I walk? What if I never learn to speak?!?” Of course, they don’t. They don’t even care. Let’s pause for a moment and think…Can we be more like this?
Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of the meditation app Headspace and author of the book The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes, addresses this in what he calls “quiet confidence.” Meaning that the “calm of a baby” is a default in all of us and that stress is the difference between the situation we have—awareness of the moment—and our perception of what should be. He reminds us that we are not our thoughts and that we should, as Elsa of Frozen would say, “Let it go!” Our underlying calm starts as a baby, and life gets piled on until it is barely visible. But, it is always there. That is comforting. I don’t know your situation, but I do appreciate the idea that calm, blue skies are always there. Sometimes, we just have to know this and look!
Brian Matthys, DO
Medical Director, Sunflower Dermatology & Medical Day Spa