Chill out wherever you are! Sounds great and it’s pretty desirable but is it really achievable? For some people it is easy and comes pretty naturally but for those of us I’ll simply call “A Types”, is it ever really possible to just chill out wherever/whatever. My answer is yes.
Some will quickly and understandably point out; “it’s easy for you to say when you live in a paradise location” . True, but I make the statement with the insight my move has given me.
At the point we decided to sell up and move to Bali my partner and I had already stepped out of our corporate jobs. The move wasn’t quite as dramatic or adventurous as it might appear at first blush.
Still it was bye bye to being a burnt out lawyer and hello to …..?? Eer not exactly sure, but whatever it was, one thing was guaranteed; my gold plated, card carrying membership of the Zen goddess society was there, waiting to be claimed. Right? Err …well no, not exactly.
It is obvious really but I think it needs to be said. Wherever you might chose to park yourself; you take yourself with you.
So How to Chill Out Wherever You Are !
Look it’s bloody brilliant living in the tropics most of the time and I would never pretend otherwise but stress triggers occur here too. I have learned recognition, acceptance and strategy are key.
I’ll tackle recognition and acceptance together. I can only speak personally but I am sure my experience is not unique.
Something undesirable happens. It could be anything really, it doesn’t matter what; an arrangement is broken a complication arises at work. My fall back modus operandi has always been to respond with the reflexes and attitude of Bruce Lee on speed. It took a while and some study, I’ll mention later but I came to accept that these skills had served me well and were prized possessions in my former occupation. I couldn’t just drop them overnight. In fact, some of the other A Type stuff, like being driven and focused and frankly, pretty fidgety after more than 30 minutes on a sun-lounger, was actually useful at times.
There is nothing intrinsically bad about any of these things. What can be, and often is damaging, is absence of balance.
A Fresh Perspective !
Over the last year or so I’ve been studying Ayurveda. Initially I have to say, I was highly sceptical. However, two of the big things it has taught me are trusting my intuition and compassion towards myself.
Ayurveda describes things, including human beings, as (broadly speaking) made up of the elements. These three principal elements are fire earth and air. Our personalities can and usually do have a predominance of one or other element.
All of this might be a step too far for many but it’s great to think of the imagery. If I was to invite you to think of these elements, would you consider any to be intrinsically bad? No of course not! They are all beautiful and necessary. It is only when things get out of balance that the forest fire rages. Ok, so no prizes for guessing which element is likely to go out of balance for me.
So Is It Possible Or Even Desirable To Chill Out Wherever You Are?
And so to the strategies. I actually have a number of practises and strategies which help but one I’ll mention here relates to the lightning reflexes. Many of us anticipate what is going to happen in any given situation. There is an argument for not anticipating and or assuming the worst but irrespective of that, we can train ourselves (admittedly it takes a bit of time) to pause when triggered and ask ourselves, “what response is going to serve me in this situation”? Do I need the double barrelled shotgun? Is it really required? And frankly sometimes it is. But more importantly, what is going to leave me feeling like a shaken bottle of soda and then later exhausted and depleted versus, what is going to make me feel like I am growing and I have a choice.
Setting Up A New Habit Loop
When we do pause and chose the effective response, the one which will leave us feeling chilled, we need to give ourselves some kind of reward.That’s third item in the loop, habit science tells us is required to set up a new habit. The reward which will work best is personal to you. Decide ahead of time how you are going to reward yourself when the situation presents itself. If it doesn’t happen first time don’t worry about that either. Self reflection and rehearsing a different response for next time also works well.
In short, I believe it is possible to chill out wherever you are and the key is to start practising now wherever you are no excuses !
Here is a suggestion for chilling out in traffic.