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Ten things I did to become calmer as I got older
(Without taking pills or selling my soul to the devil)
I was a pretty nervous dude in my youth.
But I’ve put a lot of time and energy into calming down.
Some stuff didn’t work at all and made me more uptight. But a lot did help.
Here are some things that I do that keep me pretty chill and enjoying life:
I focused more on work, projects and pursuits that brought me to life.
When I found myself in fascinating work like drawing and writing (and writing stuff I actually cared about), I was in flow more of the time.
This profoundly affected stilling my mind and transferring those high-energy effects to all areas of life.
I learned the subtle art of not being a little whiny bitch.
This sounds crass and awfully politically incorrect — and indeed, it is. But it also works.
Because it reflects wisdom that has travelled through the ages: when we stop focusing on what we dislike around us, practice non-resistance and just take action, we’re literally empowering ourselves.
Stop freaking whining.
I learned to take my thoughts less seriously.
I wish I had known earlier how much bollocks are contained in thoughts.
Too many of us take them as gospel truths on how life should be lived. How about no.
Thoughts are just approximations, and not ONE of them needs to be listened to.
I Incorporated more walking and weight-lifting into my week.
When I exercise, oxygen flows more effectively through my bloodstream.
My mood lifts.
A week without exercise makes my body feel stagnant, and that’s when the stress and anxiety arise.
I stopped looking for validation from other people.
This need was rooted in a lie: that other people had the power to raise my self-esteem.
That’s total gobbledegook, and you need to stop thinking that shit.
The only validation you need is the compassion that arises naturally for yourself and others when you give less of a fuck.
I stopped caring about myself beyond the superficial.
Wait a minute, Alex.
What in the actual heck?
You heard it right.
I like to take care of my appearance, my general health, my hygiene, and buy decent clothes and that kind of stuff.
That’s essential self-care.
But beyond that, I make a point to THINK less of myself.
When there’s less of me to think of, my self-consciousness drops and my focus redirects to the stuff worth thinking about:
‘What can I create, and how can I help other people?’
I accepted all the stuff about me I didn’t like.
This starts with forgiving yourself for what you perceived as ‘bad’ in your past. It wasn’t bad.
You just apply that thinking to what happened, making your present self feel like arse.
You did what you knew to be right at the time. Forgive yourself and move on.
That’s a huge weight off your back.
Next, accept yourself.
It is what it is.
I understood the mind/tension connection.
This was huge for me.
The more we have on our minds, the more stress we feel.
You know this because you feel awful when the volume of thinking is high, like when you worry.
Most people attempt to use their thoughts to calm down.
They try to think positive thoughts.
They believe it’s relieved at the mindset level.
No. No, it isn’t.
The gateway to true calm is accessed through the physical: the body.
Relax the body, and your mind stills.
I saw the connection between consuming garbage and feeling terrible.
I still often eat garbage.
But I now know to expect to feel like warmed-up camel turds when I do so.
Understanding this makes all the difference.
I no longer need to worry about where my ‘depression’ comes from if I’ve just spent the last week smoking, watching porn and eating processed shite.
I took responsibility for everything.
Many people have questioned this move.
They say: ‘but Alex, I can’t be held responsible for the fighting in some distant land.’
Yes, yes, you can.
Because your mind literally creates your entire reality.
This is powerful because if we take responsibility for what isn’t working, we’re in the driving seat of our lives.
We’re not a poor little floaty leaf struggling by.
We create it all.
Act like it.
Thanks for reading.
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