6 Super Chill Life Lessons You Can Learn From The Quakers

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
In these times of political and social turmoil, we're all looking for ways to, well, chill out. Easier said than done — unless you're familiar with the Quakers, that is. No, not "Quakers" like the oats or parrots, but "Quakers" like the self-described "harmless and innocent people of God." This small sect of Christianity has spent most of its existence urging people to get along, even if you don't totally see eye to eye.

If you've ever set foot in a Quaker meeting house (or attended Quaker school, like this lucky writer), you've almost definitely encountered the six core values of Quakerism. These general guidelines are also known as testimonies or by their pneumonic, S.P.I.C.E.S. They're the building blocks to a productive Quaker lifestyle. And, from peace to integrity to stewardship, they are predictably chill.

Ahead, we break down the S.P.I.C.E.S. one by one, exploring their inherent chillness — and how exactly they'll make your own life a little bit chiller, too.
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Simplicity

Why It's Chill
A century or two ago, this would mean minimalism to the point of austerity: simple clothes, simple dwellings, pared down everything. These days, living a simple life just means being selective about how you spend your time, money, and energy. If you commit to every project, event, or purchase that comes your way, you'll lose sight what's really important to you. Keep things simple and avoid needless clutter.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
Besides the obvious reason that you'll save money if you aren't buying every It-item that hits the shelves, adopting this value should reduce the overall stress in your life. Simply put, having fewer things in your life (be it possessions or activities) means having fewer things to worry about.
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Peace

Why It's Chill
Quakers shun conflict from their lives for a whole host of reasons, but chiefly because they believe peace prompts progress. People are more likely to be kind and work together when their interactions aren't charged with aggression and intolerance.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
Not to state the obvious, but fights, arguments, even heated discussions are exhausting. Pausing to listen before challenging someone's ideas will probably save you a lot of time and energy.
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Integrity

Why It's Chill
There's an old Quaker saying that goes, "Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay." In other words, say what you mean. You don't always have to be right, but you should always try your best and speak plainly. It might not be exciting, but consistency is definitely chill.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
This value most heavily affects your relationship with, well, yourself. Acting with integrity is a great way to quiet any inner turmoil you're dealing with. It isn't always easy to practice what you preach, but it will help you feel at peace with yourself at the end of the day.
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Community

Why It's Chill
In Quakerism, a "gathered community" is the best support system you can get (besides God). Doing what you can to make sure your community is content and thriving, while being aware of the needs of those beyond your own group, too, will benefit everyone. Ideally, everyone is available for you to lean on, and vice versa.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
Remembering that it isn't you against the world can be comforting — and an effective call to address injustices you notice in your daily life. Getting into the habit of paying it forward won't just improve the lives of those around you — it'll bring you peace of mind.
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Equality

Why It's Chill
During Quaker worship, anyone is welcome to speak. During Quaker community meetings, anyone is welcome to speak. Starting to see a pattern? These rules come from the idea that everyone is invested with the same amount of spiritual dignity. Naturally, since discrimination and needless hierarchy denies this fact, those things have no place in Quakerism.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
Striving for equality will make you more aware and, frankly, a better listener. As we suggested earlier, stepping back and letting others talk is a great first step toward a peaceful community of equals. Besides, if we have to argue with you about whether or not equality is chill, you are already too far gone.
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Stewardship

Why It's Chill
Remember what we said about Quakers and community? Take that and apply it to the entire Earth. The planet that sustains us deserves similarly kind treatment in return. This is as much a value to live by as a form of insurance: Caring for the Earth will make life that much better for future generations.

Why It'll Make Your Life Chiller
This might sound corny, but practicing good stewardship is a surefire way to make sure you leave the world a better place than it was when you showed up. If you're chill with Earth, you're chill for life.
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