I am aspiring to be a more chill human. You know the kind that does not default to panic when life throws a slight curveball? The kind whose baseline stress level does not scare away innocent bystanders? The kind that does not read, re-read, and re-re-read every email with extreme concern over misplaced commas? You know the kind that doesn’t overthink situations?? What is that like, anyway? Is it possible? And if it’s possible, how can we highly sensitive, borderline neurotic, perfectionist Type-A’s adopt it?
Because, fortunately, my boyfriend is the ultimate chill human, I didn’t have to go very far to find out.
Advice for the anxious: 9 actionable steps you can take, like today, to be more chill, reduce your stress, and cultivate your own inner calm.
1. Stay far away from social media. (Or at the very least, proceed with caution.)
Just because she can take a selfie doesn’t mean she has her life together.
Having instant 24/7 access to the highlight reel of someone else’s life has it’s drawbacks. Mostly because we choose to ignore the fact that what we’re seeing is just the highlight reel. Although I’ve fallen deep into this trap many times and, according to my boyfriend, easily slip into an Instagram induced coma if I’m not careful — sometimes for hours — as a true millennial, I’m not quite ready to completely give it up. Call me naive or a wide-eyed Pollyanna, I still see the value in it.
His advice then, proceed with caution. Create healthy distance between you and your accounts. Get some perspective. Recognize social media for what it is (carefully curated, photoshopped and filtered, cropped versions of the lives we wish we had), and know when it’s time to get out.
Per his recommendations, I’ve decreased the amount of time I spend on social media. Facebook is no longer the first site that autopopulates my search bar when I type the letters “F - A”, I can’t remember the last time I actually opened up my Twitter account, and I spend no more than 5 minutes on Instagram at a time, usually less. It’s glorious. I’m connecting with people, in person!, I have way more time on my hands, and when I do share on social media, it’s because I want to share, not because I’m addicted to the likes.
2. Avoid emails in the AM.
Email is mostly other people’s demands on your time – my inbox is! But according to the experts (in this case, my BF), your day should start with you. Instead of turning your attention and depleting your energy on other people’s “urgent” demands, try IDK, waking up first? Possibly without your eyes glued to a screen.
3. Stretch your muscles, daily.
YES. As a yogi, I wholeheartedly agree with a mandatory stretch sesh or self-massage to release stuck and stagnant energy. Have you heard the expression your issues are in your tissues? It’s true. We hold tension in our bodies, usually our upper back, neck, shoulders and hips. To release the tension and cultivate more inner calm, my boyfriend suggests 30 minutes of foam rolling or deep tissue self-massage. I suggest asking your boyfriend or S.O. to give you a massage instead. (It doesn’t always work.)
4. Do things simply because you enjoy them.
When is the last time you did something just for fun? If you had to think about it for more than 30 seconds, no wonder you’re stressed! Fun is the pathway to wellbeing. That’s probably why my boyfriend’s always in a good mood. He’s always doing things just for fun. I’m the opposite. I feel pangs of guilt if I’m not being “productive.” In fact, I actually have an incredibly difficult time just “being,” which is likely the reason I can’t seem to chill…
5. Focus on what’s in front of you.
Anytime I’m stressed my BF reminds me to focus on what’s happening, RN. Not what’s happening 10 minutes from now, not what just happened, but what’s happening now in THIS moment. Sage advice probably channeled by his inner Eckhart.
6. Remember to breathe.
Chill people don’t need to be reminded to breathe, the rest of us do. Take 10 conscious breaths daily.
7. Practice yoga or some other form of movement.
Not only is some form of daily physical activity good for overall health and wellbeing, it can also become a self-renewing moving meditation. While you don’t have to do yoga (though I highly recommend it – take my class if you’re in Orange County!), regularly moving your body in a way that you enjoy creates an immense sense of inner calm.
8. Get enough sleep.
Which I totally agree with but should disclose was added to the list at 5am…
Above anyone else. My boyfriend is so good at this it’s incredible. Admirable, even. He’s mastered mindfully not giving a f*&k about what other people think of him or being liked. I think it has something to do with staying away from social media? Anyway, he is not swayed by other people’s opinions. He does not wait for external approval or validation. He puts himself first, reaps the benefits, and so does everyone he interacts with. He shows up fully present. I on the other hand, let’s just say I’m still working on it.
You too? Tell us your tricks. What helps you chill out? Leave it in comment section below.
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**This post is part of our Summer of Self-Love series. If you're just catching up:
1. What Not To Do At The Beach
2. Tips For Actually Enjoying Your Long Weekend
3. The Subtle Alchemy of Self-Love
4. 6 Foods For Daily Detoxification & High-vibe Health
5. 14 Summer Essentials For the Spirited Nutritionista
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