My old office manager was the kind of person who was either hurt, sick, or recovering from being hurt or sick.
The bouncy ball of her mind never seemed to rattle to a stop. Despite her attempts to hang onto the reins, her brain raced out of control, and often times it made her body run right off the tracks with it.
And it’s not like she wasn’t suffering from some strange pseudo medical condition. It’s just that her brain was driven extra fast by these added pressures and needs and impulses, all of which she seemed to create for herself.
But the story she told us was, she thrived on chaos. Which, admittedly, works as a compelling soundbite and clever punchline, but it also made us wonder if she was creating all these problems unconsciously, and contributing to a turbulent energy that was impossible to sustain long term.
Basically, she needed to take a chill pill. Not in that cheesy eighties kind of way. Chill pills are actually something people used to make at home centuries ago.
There’s this great housekeeping book from the late eighteen hundreds that has home medicines and remedies, one of which is literally called the chill pill. At that time, the recipe in the book was a remedy for the chills associated with high fevers.
To make it, simply mixes two drachms of sulphur quinine, one grain of arsenious acid, one grain of strychnia and one drachm of powdered capsicum. Take three times a day to relieve suffering.
If only calming ourselves down was that simple. No wonder there is no shortage of antistress powders and supplements that will balance our calcium intake with natural elements like water soluble magnesium absorption. I drink that stuff nightly for years, but it didn’t really make me any calmer, it mostly just gave me diarrhea.
Truth is, if we want to pump the brakes on our racing brain, we need to shift both our intention, attention and operation. We need to take full responsibility for our inability to chill, and we need to make a concerted effort through weekly, daily and hourly measures to think, act and be in ways that support calmness.
Otherwise we’re all going to be either hurt, sick, or recovering from being hurt or sick.
Winwood beautifully sang about it in his number one eighties hit, when you’re born to run, it’s so hard to just slow down.
It’s true for workaholics, that’s for sure. When we slow down and relax, we worry that we’ll be seen as a slacker or incompetent. Better stay in motion at all costs, right?
You don’t have to be addicted to your work to know that such a strategy works for a while, but not forever.
Eventually, our bodies will illuminate the check engine light, and if we don’t pull over to a rest stop and chill, they will putter out in the middle of rush hour traffic and put our lives in serious danger.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you know how to flip the calmness switch and stop the bouncy ball of your mind?