What is Equanimity and Why is it
Important in Life and Work?
“Equanimity suggests balance, centeredness,
not being pulled internally too far in one direction or another.”
— Nancy Flam
A few years ago I came across the word equanimity. The term was new to me. The concept was and is life-changing!
Equanimity is a capacity for calmness and balance even in a difficult situation. The concept provokes the image of a sailboat managing to remain upright and balanced even in heavy winds. Although the sails sway in the breeze, they hold centeredness.
For most of us, equanimity is a practice to be developed like exercising, eating healthier foods, or meditation. We set an intention to navigate toward the internal spaciousness that equanimity offers, and practice incrementally. Gradually, we learn to manage the sails as they flail in the winds of our lives.
Lately, I think frequently about equanimity. This is because I am aware of how easily stirred I sometimes feel in the precarious whims of life’s breezes and heavy winds.
I recently coached a client struggling with a relationship issue. “How do you typically deal with your emotions in these types of difficult situations?”, I asked her. She said she tried to pause and remember “this won’t last forever.” I asked how she could bring that calming voice to this situation, and what it would mean to her to do so. Then we brainstormed a few strategies she might consider. She chose a strategy she thought would work to gain greater balance, to feel less pulled by the relational dynamic. She followed through with an action plan to move forward with more inner spaciousness and equanimity.