I am known for being extremely chill. I mean, beyond chill. I mean, people sometimes think that I might be enjoying more than just Bob Marley’s music kind of chill, if you catch my drift (which, for the record I do ONLY enjoy the music). But in recent years, I haven’t felt so at ease. I have often wondered why that is. Growing pains and some other types of obstacles and adversities seem to have purposely beaten the calm out of me at times. Also, daily stresses (particularly in that phase of getting married, starting a new job, and moving across the country within 2 weeks) occasionally wrap me up like string around an index finger, and before I know it, my wellness circulation gets cut off and my emotional demeanor turns red, blue, then white. And then I pass out.
But, thanks to this blog (providing routine strolls down memory lane, and useful creative outlets), my sweet husband, new friends, a fantastic job, a flourishing testimony of the gospel and a cute little apartment that I get to call home, I have really been able to return to my favorite pastime of relaxing, pondering, making stuff, and walking slowly. In short, I have been succeeding in chilling out without really trying, yet again! In my gradual return to my roots, I’ve been able to realize that there is a science to the art of chilling-out. I enjoy chilling-out so much (more than words can adequately describe)!! For me, it is an absolute need that falls just a hair under food, shelter, water, and church in terms of priority.
If you need to chill out (and lets face it, you do), I offer a top 10 list of my methods…
1. Blink. I know this sounds stupid, but hear me out on this one. I don’t mean the subconscious blinking that we all do millions of times a day. I mean the squint-hard-eyebrows-furled-count-to-ten-on-purpose type of blink. Then, while briefly closing your eyes, imagine for a moment that that little blink contains your entire lifespan, while the darkness you are staring into (eyes closed) is the rest of eternity, both before and after you exist. Deep huh? I know. I blink on a regular basis and zone out on the 4th dimension (time) until I just become a speck on the spectrum between the eternity that came before me and the eternity that comes after me. The moment I am in (no matter how stressful, or blissful) becomes so small that I can’t do anything else but appreciate it for adding character to my life. It is a simple reminder that “it shall be but a small moment unto you.”
2. Use honesty as a defense mechanism. Your only defense mechanism. I know that sounds corny, or different. It’s true though. Generally speaking, if you are totally honest with yourself and observe what is really happening around you, you will not easily be thwarted by the lies or difficult things that come your way. Even if honesty causes short-term drama, it is the right kind of drama to cause. People who get repelled by your (or any) honesty are the people who cause you unnecessary stress, and you can use the distance they create when getting upset to your advantage. You can let them, and their reactions to truth go. And, if I am honest with myself first, then nobody really has to break bad news to me because I am already basically more or less aware. Honesty as a defense mechanism is the best shield and healing agent a person can ever employ. Nothing beats it. Think of the alternatives: denial, deflection, depression, addiction, manipulation…these alternatives are just not stress reducing, or relax inducing. Even if things get ugly for a little while by telling the truth, or living the truth, there is always peace in authenticity. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Do not be image conscious. I repeat, do NOT work on your image! Nothing causes more undue stress and misery than caring and obsessing about one’s image. Think of just how many people you potentially become a slave to because of the way you believe they have to see you! Just think of the hours wasted building an “image” that could be used to build real foundations of character! Not to mention how hurtful it is (to everyone involved) when you turn your back on a (probably rare) true friend in a time of need because it might make you “look bad” or be unfashionable to cooler people you know. The happiest people I know have nothing to prove or disprove about themselves; they are not necessarily hip or overly cool, in fact they are mostly nerds who are so interested in what they are doing or pursuing or creating that it doesn’t even occur to them that other people have opinions of them at all. Trust me, I have learned through hard experience that there is nothing worse than living under the rock of other people’s expectations of what your image could or should be. Choosing happiness through being true to yourself is far more difficult but much more liberating than letting the world guide your every step (via marketing, or pressure). Enjoy your authentic walk through life. It is the only way~
4. Drink deeply of living waters. I love water, all kinds of water. I love the ocean, and pools, and I love the taste of ice-cold water on a hot summer afternoon. But even better is drinking water for your soul. I was raised with religion in my home and have stayed with it throughout my adult life because it works. I have often heard references to holy scriptures and words of living prophets or Jesus Christ as “living waters.” There is no glass of water on earth that reaches me as profoundly as a good dose of revelation through gospel living. I am so very grateful for the knowledge I have that Heavenly Father loves his children, and me.
5. Work Hard enough to cover all your bases – Is hard-work and chilling-out an oxymoron? No. Nobody can truly, honestly relax when they are neglecting their responsibilities. One step further, nobody really deserves to relax if they are not succeeding in fulfilling their responsibilities. Work always comes before play and relaxation, but play DOES come! I work to provide a better future for myself and for my family, I strive to live as responsibly as possible so that if something goes wrong, it is not my fault. By living life to avoid making bad decisions and to actively make good decisions I have put myself on a path that enables me to have confidence that I am doing my part. For the bigger problems that need working out, I do my part and happily hand over the rest to the Lord. (note: that is also a way to cover your bases)
6. Have faith that people are just going to love you. There are not very many people worth getting to know, let alone worth being close with, who will judge you negatively as soon as you walk into the room. In fact, there aren’t very many of those people at all in the world. There ARE people who will be mean, on occasion, but they are a minority, and probably are miserable in their own lives. The majority of people you will come across are willing to give you a chance, get to know you, and come to love you in their own way. Little children have this principle down, they are good at walking into a room and expecting love and positive feedback. Somehow, we lose that confidence in adolescence and grapple for it as young professionals or college students. Sometimes in an effort to overcompensate it turns into pride, conceit, or arrogance. That is not what I mean when I say “have faith that people are just going to love you.” I mean, have faith in people, and have faith that you are lovable. The funny thing is, the more you are open and positive, the more this statement rings true in reality.
7. Believe the promises from trustworthy people. Life is like a frequency graph tapping into your heart rate. There are many natural highs and lows, and a few things that can make it go crazy! Much like getting the right medical attention can relax a heart back into a steady heart rate, trusting the right people has always seemed to help me stay grounded during tough times. So how does one determine a trustworthy person or source? That, my friends, I can’t really say. For me, if a person makes me feel obligated, or uncomfortable at any time, I lose trust for them. Conversely, if that person shows through their actions that they are caring, compassionate, kind, honest and demonstrate many Christlike attributes I tend to rely on their advise more than others. This brings me to my next point…
8. If someone makes you uncomfortable, politely drift away. The same is true for if someone is annoying, dramatic, or too emotional for my comfort zone. That said, my tolerance for what is uncomfortable is generally high…but hey, when it is time to relax and chill out, there is no room for people who crawl under your skin. Period!
9. Everything works out for good in God’s perspective. I try to take a hint from that. So, if it is all going to work out, what are you stressing out for?
10. Move at your own pace. I have learned that people want to meddle with your pace at first, but eventually, they come to accept that you will come to do things in your own time, and when you do, it is almost always better than they imagined it turning out.