Why is everyone in such a hurry?! I thought about this as I was barefoot running the other day. As I was enjoying the sunshine and just taking in the environment around me I noticed that everyone else on the trail, even those walking, seemed like they were in a race to get somewhere or something. Chill out!
The past few weeks one of the biggest realizations I’ve come to is how important it is to be chill. If you look at it from a health, social, psychological, physiological, and happiness standpoint, being calm and not worrying is one of the most important things you can do.
From a health standpoint, cortisol is a hormone secreted when we are in stress related situations. It acts as the hormone which elevates our senses and sends adrenaline to decide whether to fight or fly from a given situation. From a biological view, this is very important for those few dangerous situations humans can get themselves in. The problem is in today’s overly stressed world most of us are swimming in cortisol 24/7 and the result is our body thinks we are fighting for our life all the time which has bad consequences (one of them being weight gain ahem ahem).
From a social standpoint, everyone knows how much easier it is to hang out with someone who is chill and is not uber uptight. I used to be an ubertight one especially when around people I’m new to. I think it was a confidence thing. I’ve definitely worked on this and hopefully I’m atleast a little chiller in social situations although I know I can still be super awkward sometimes 🙂
From a psychological/physiological point of view, from my personal experience, I am way more productive/in control of my body when I’m not in some sort of panic mode. I program better. When I’m skiing on a super steep slope that seems a little bit too difficult for me, once I calm down I can go down so much easier than when I am all tense and nervous. I’ve taken to practicing getting to this calm state in scary/uncomfortable positions. In the morning I take an icy cold shower and try to stay relatively calm during the whole thing (no easy task!). When bouldering I try and jump off the top of the boulder staying calm about the height I’m at.
From a happiness standpoint I cannot say how happy and at peace I am when I am chill about everything. I think the trick is to live in the present, not in the past or in the future. I used to be a past/future living person. The change between that and living in the present is such a big difference in state of mind I think it’s taken me a while to get to this point where I am. But holy shit, what a big difference! I like to focus on this exact moment and how my body feels and the exact circumstances of my environment. It is such an exhilirating feeling, like what it means to live. Instead of focusing on what my future is going to be like, I begin to think of the utter endless possibilities of what could happen from this moment on depending on what I do. Because life is not something that happens in the future, it’s what’s going on right this moment you are reading this blog.
This thing about living in the present has been written about so much but I think I’m only now starting to get it and actually apply it to my own life. I’ll leave you with a couple of these writings:
A zen parable:
The monk raced to the edge of a cliff, glanced back, and saw the growling tiger about to spring. The monk spotted a vine dangling over the edge of the cliff. He grabbed it and began shinnying down the side of the cliff out of the clutches of the tiger.
Whew! Narrow escape.
The monk then looked down and saw a quarry of jagged rocks five hundred feet below. He looked up and saw the tiger poised atop the cliff with bared claws. Just then, two mice began to nibble at the vine.
What to do?
The monk saw a strawberry within arm’s reach, growing out of the face of the cliff.
He plucked it, ate it, and exclaimed, “Yum! That’s the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.”
I certainly realized then that year that life was already happening, I think it’s cause my mother was so obsessed with education and the idea that childhood and adolesence and…well, everything was about preparing for a life that was going to start later, and I suddenly realized that life wasn’t going to start later that it had…you know…it starts at dot…and it happens all the time, and at any point you can grasp the reigns and start guiding your own destiny, and that was a big revelation to me; i mean it came as quite a shock.