How to Be More Chill

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Whether you know what it’s like to wish you could fit into a group of new people, or you struggle to keep your cool in difficult work situations—you and I could all use a little more chill in our lives.

Perhaps you’re a mom consumed with guilt because you yelled at your little one for doing something you know he really couldn’t control; or maybe, friends know you as an “uptight” individual who just needs to relax and chill out.

As an often-stressed person myself, I could definitely learn to be more chill. I’m in this with you.

Together, we can learn to better keep our “cool” by learning to chill more—in arguments, relationships, and our overall demeanors with significant others, parents, coworkers and friends.

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5 Signs That You Need to Chill

We all struggle with stress in our unique life situations, but some people let go of their stressors easier than others.

If any of the following sounds like you, you might need to learn to be more chill:

  1. You’re angry all the time and your anger easily explodes on others
  2. You take people’s opinions to heart; you find your own value in others instead of within yourself
  3. You pity yourself during confrontation, as if you already know you have no chance of winning an argument (perhaps caused by a lack of self-esteem)
  4. Perhaps, like me, you avoid confrontation altogether because you fear the ability to control your emotions during an argument
  5. It feels like you need to be the center of attention, all the time

All of the above situations (and many more) indicate the need for people to recognize and accept their innate desire to have control the world around them.

We can control some aspects of our lives, but we need to identify and let go of those aspects that we cannot control.

how to be more chill

Common Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body

People who need to chill are full of stress. You may notice in the moodiness, loudness and anxious presence of others that their negative energy seems to rub off onto you.

Stressed out people can cause themselves even more distress because of stress’s negative effects on the mind, behavior and body. Here are a few ways stress can impact your health:

  • Headache, muscle pain or chest pain
  • Irritability, anger, sadness, depression and other mental health issues
  • Abnormal fatigue and loss of motivation to get things done
  • Anger, anxiety or restlessness
  • Eating disorders and unhealthy weights

While this list of stress symptoms is not all-inclusive, it names quite a few symptoms that many of us regularly report feeling. How much are we letting the stress eat away at our bodies and souls?

What Exactly is Chilling?

So, with all this talk of “chilling,” what do I actually mean, and how can you put it into practice?

Chilling means letting stressful situations fly off your shoulders. Once you understand that you only have a limited amount of control in any situation, you can begin to relax a little more.

If you are doing everything in your power to fix a situation, then what is there left to be stressed about?

You’ve done your part—now relax and enjoy the ride! Chill out.

“Anything that undermines [our] perception of control may be harmful to [our] well-being,”

– Leotti, Iyengar, and Ochsner, 2010 stress study.

How to Chill

To practice chilling, you practice letting go of your desire to control your surroundings. This can be difficult—so many of us are used to the mindset that the course of our lives is determined from our exact actions.

Of course, when it’s in your best interest to take action (like brushing your teeth every day to avoid tooth decay), you can and should exert a healthy amount of control in your life.

Chilling doesn’t mean letting go of all responsibility and “letting the universe take over.”

But when you’re stressed about the cold weather or an illness coming on, or your argument isn’t heading in the direction you’d wanted it to, take a minute to let go—chill.

You can stop stress in its tracks by not allowing yourself to feel guilt and power from things you can’t control. Let the moment unravel, almost as if you are just an outside viewer. By letting yourself off the hook, a whole lot of stress disappears.

Here are some other methods that can help you become more chill:

  • Mindfulness and meditation. Check out some guided meditations and learn to appreciate the present moment.
  • Make friends with chill people. Their positivity will rub off on you.
  • Speak to a therapist or doctor. You may have an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety that needs medical treatment.
  • Talk to friends about your stress to release your emotions.

Friends Like Chill People

Your friends love being around you when you’re chill. Chill people get the best out of life because they live in the present moment, which is an attractive quality to others who are trying to figure out a more chill life.

A lack of “chillness” or constant stress can turn your friends off. They have their own stress to handle and don’t like to see you struggling with your own. If, however, you model a friend who understands their control in the universe, you can become quite attractive to others.

The Mayo Clinic emphasizes the importance of being able to relax and practice mindfulness in your friendships.

how to be more chill

You’re Not a Mind-Reader

Much of the stress in my own life comes from analyzing what others think of me. My innate desire for control wants to impress and overwhelm everybody with my greatness—even myself.

I recognize that I devote far too much of my mental energy to performing at my best for the benefit of others, trying my hardest to be perfect, and never being able to achieve it (well, of course not!).

I just want to make people feel happy, so I try my hardest to please them, even when I really don’t want to. My story brings me to another big lesson of chilling: you are not a mind-reader and your purpose is not to be a people-pleaser.

First of all, you can’t possibly know what others think about you, unless they tell you. You don’t possess a mind-reading ability—sorry to burst your bubble!

Second of all, you shouldn’t try to figure what out others secretly think of you—it’s just not helpful in any way. Your only opinion of you should come straight from you. I know, easier said than done. But if you are mindful of this concept in your day-to-day life, the feeling of chillness will be ever closer.

Chilling: A Summary

Chilling all comes down to the understanding that you are not in control. At least, you’re not as in control as you wish to be. People who understand this key concept about life are more relaxed and happy to go on with their lives.

Being able to chill is a learned behavior. Try to think of some young children who are chill. There aren’t many that come to mind, right? Children are full of stress because they haven’t yet learned how to relax and accept their lack of power in the universe.

Sometimes, children don’t learn how to chill as they grow, and they become chronically stressed-out adults.

The big lesson here is that you will never be able to control the outcome of every situation, no matter how hard you try or how nervous you are. By letting go of some need for control, your life will begin to feel more chill.

More Chill, Less Stress

I’m a work in process, myself. Most people who know me tell me that I am a stress-ball. But I really want to be more chill. I want to stop worrying about what my co-workers think of my performance; I want to stop letting my faulty finances control my mood, and I dream of being a chill friend whom others can rely upon.

Join me on my journey to a stress-free, much more chill existence. I think you and I will both reap the benefits if we put in a little extra work. Soon, we will know just what we are in control of, and we will let the universe (or religious entity) take over the rest.

Additional Resources

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About the author

Valerie Sizelove
Valerie Sizelove is a freelance content writer who specializes in health, mental health, self-improvement and parenting topics. She also loves to spill her guts on Medium. When she’s not wrangling her four kids or writing, you might find Valerie weeding in her amateur vegetable garden or baking some phenomenal cookies.

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