Chill Pills

1. Take a few minutes in the morning to be quiet and
meditate. Sit or lie down and be with yourself. Gaze out the
window, listen to the sounds of nature, or take a slow, quiet walk.

2. While your car is warming up, take a minute to quietly
pay attention to your breathing.

3. While you’re driving, become aware of body
tension–hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, shoulders
raised, stomach tight. Consciously work at releasing and dissolving
that tension. Does being tense help you drive better? What does it
feel like to relax and drive?

4. Don’t play the radio; be with yourself.

5. Stay in the right lane and go 55 miles per hour.

6. Pay attention to your breathing or to the sky and
trees when you’re stopped at a red light or a toll plaza.

7. After parking your car at your workplace, take a
moment to orient yourself to your workday.

8. At your desk, your keyboard, or your spot on the
production line, monitor your bodily sensations and tension levels
and consciously attempt to relax and let go of excess tension.

9. Use your breaks to truly relax rather than simply
‘pause.’ For example, instead of having coffee and a cigarette,
take a two- to five-minute walk, or sit at your desk and

10. At lunch, change your environment.

11. Try closing the door (if you have one) and taking
some time to consciously relax.

12. Decide to stop for one to three minutes every hour
during the workday (if you can). Become aware of your breathing and
bodily sensations. Use this time to regroup.

13. Use the everyday cues in your environment–the
telephone ringing, turning on the computer–as reminders to
‘center’ yourself.

14. Take some time at lunch or break to talk with close
associates. Choose topics that aren’t related to work.

15. Choose to eat one or two lunches per week in silence.
Use them as a time to eat slowly and be with yourself.

16. At the end of the workday, recall your activities
that day, acknowledging and congratulating yourself for what you’ve
accomplished. Make a list for the next day.

17. Pay attention to the walk to your car. Breathe. Try
to accept the feeling of the cold or warmth enveloping your body
rather than resisting it. Listen to the sounds outside the
workplace. Can you walk without feeling rushed?

18. While your car is warming up, sit quietly and
consciously make the transition from work to home. Take a moment to
simply be. Enjoy it. Like most of us, you’re heading into your next
full-time job: home!

19. While you’re driving, notice if you are rushing. What
does this feel like? What can you do about it? Remember, you’ve got
more control than you imagine.

20. When you pull into the driveway or park on the
street, take a minute to come back to the present. Orient yourself
to being with your family or other household members.

21. Change out of work clothes when you get home; it
helps you to make a smoother transition into your next ‘role.’ You
can spare the five minutes to do this. Say hello to each family
member. Center yourself at home. If possible, take five to ten
minutes to be quiet and still.

From The Family Therapy Networker
(March-April 1996). Subscriptions: $24/yr. (6 issues) from 8528
Bradford Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20901.

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