We often MAJOR in the MINOR, attaching entirely too much significance to a situation. Try to keep some perspective. Did somebody go bankrupt, bleed to death, or lose a child because of what’s happening, or what we did, or did not do? Even if the situation is that terrible, stressing out makes it more difficult to make amends, find a remedy, or come up with an alternate solution. It also makes it hard to find the lesson that will empower us to avoid the same consequence in the future.
Chilling out also means staying in your lane. Many of us stress over things that are just none of our business. We organize other people’s lives, setting their priorities, spending their money and their time. So often, our opinions are neither welcome, nor necessary.
BUTT out unless they ask for your opinion, or you’re trying to avoid bodily harm. (In the second case, be sure to contact professionals as well.) If your conscience won’t let you keep silent, ask yourself these questions before you say anything: Are you being kind? Is your comment likely to help? If so, you don’t need an audience. Say it once; say it in love; do not assume any authority, and leave them to the consequences of their decisions.
Another way to chill out is to generate joy. Find time to do something that brings you unmitigated joy every day, even if only for a few minutes. The Teaching Company has an amazing course, “The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being. Professor Ronald D. Siegel of Harvard Medical School explains what happens to the brain chemically when we clear our minds of clutter, really acknowledge what we experience, and go through life aware instead of hiding, avoiding, and ignoring. There is a companion course, Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation, which I’m finding very helpful. I don’t know about you, but it’s not easy for me to slow down, be still, and feel.
Understanding that we are part of a larger reality can also calm us down. People talk about being a threads in a tapestry. We can see only our thread, or our corner of the tapestry, and things may look pretty raggedly from where we sit, but the entire tapestry makes sense. There is a reason why our threat is where it is and the way it is at that specific time. I believe Someone planned the tapestry and that it will make beautiful sense when it’s done. We’re not responsible for the whole tapestry, but we are individually important to its beauty. We have significance and purpose, but only have to be the best thread we can be in our little corner of the whole. That comforts me and helps me chill out.
NEXT on Woodsonian Inspirational Musings on Monday: Manage Stress Through G.R.A.C.E. E is for Exercise, coordinating with Woodsonian Informational Thoughts on Thursday next week, Finding An Exercise Program that Works for YOU.