Jenna Hermans Chaos to Calm blog Curiosity

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The Calming Effect of Curiosity

How having an open mind aids in calm.

How having an open mind aids in calm

“Mom, do you know something I love about you?” My daughter recently said.

I almost didn’t even care what came next. I’ll happily accept any loving and thoughtful words from my kids. 

“You are a really curious person.” 

Huh! I wasn’t expecting that one! 

She was right, though. I am an incredibly curious person, which I believe benefits my life in various ways, including aiding in my calm.

Why am I so curious?

My daughter’s observation got me thinking: Why am I curious? And when did it start? 

I’m sure I did my fair share of asking my parents, “why,” as a kid, but my deeper relationship with curiosity started in college, when I left home for the first time and was exposed to everything new.

My eyes opened being surrounded by new lifestyles, cultures, traditions, behaviors and world approaches. 

You’d think growing up in Los Angeles I’d have had a diverse childhood, but my late childhood and adolescence was pretty much a homogeneous bubble – living in the suburbs and going to a Jewish high school. I had never really experienced being a minority until I left for college, which was the first time I heard, “Wow, I’ve never met a Jew before.” 

In sharing differences with my new community, my curiosity and eagerness to learn grew. I knew that the more I learned about others, the more I could evolve, too.

Being away from home and the comfort of the parental safety net made me accountable for my actions and my own care. I needed to know at the core level: How do I want to do this? How do others do this thing called life? I realized I didn’t have to do things the way I was accustomed to or the way I was raised. I could be inspired by others and do life the way that felt best for me.

Curiosity as a path to calm

Curiosity has been a huge factor in finding and owning my calm.

Anxiety often stems from the unknown, so one of my key calm tools is to ask questions to deepen understanding. 

To own your calm, develop a relationship with Unknown’s sweeter cousin, “Curiosity.” 

Rather than think you already have all the information that you could need or that you need to be an expert (that is a lot of anxious pressure), open your mind to possibility. There’s always more we can learn about a situation, conversation, or interaction. And, there are plenty of experts already out there. Lean on them. You will feel more calm and confident in your decisions after getting other perspectives.

Accepting you don’t know everything – and don’t have to know everything – is freeing and paves the way for calm. You make the best decisions you can, with what you know, and you move forward and evolve. 

As the great Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 

By staying open and curious, I am more compassionate and understanding of others, which feeds my calm. 

Be a student of the world

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” – Albert Einstein

I love that there’s so much I don’t know. I continue to be a student of the world around me. Of the human condition, of parenthood, history and love. It’s exciting to learn something new everyday!

I continuously learn about religion and other cultures’ ways of thinking. I’m a student of Buddhism and bring practices from Christianity, Islam, Paganism and Taoism into my day-to-day.

I’m a student of minimalism, however I am not a minimalist. No labels can define who I am or will be; labels are limiting. 

I frequently read books about marriage and how to continue deepening my amazing partnership with my husband.

I enjoy exploring all different kinds of practices and schools of thought, taking the pieces that resonate with me and incorporate them into my life.

Stay curious to stay calm

Friends, I invite you to stay curious as a tool for calm. To ask questions. To seek understanding when interacting with things that are uncomfortable, confusing or intimidating.

Be empowered to change your mind once you have new information. It’s ignorant and stubborn to ignore meaningful new information.

Calm comes from being able to adapt as the world around you changes. You are not static, and neither is the world around you. And that’s okay! The more curious you are, taking in the world around you with the mind of a child, the more you’ll learn more about who you are and what’s important to you and your values. 

And with that, you’ll become more self-aware, leading to contentment and calm.

Reach out, I’m here for you.

Jenna Z Hermans - signature written