An Appalachian folk story tells of two friends who went coon hunting. They treed a coon but could not get him down. So one decided he'd climb the tree and shake the coon loose. To his surprise, he found it wasn't a coon at all, but a wildcat.
In a little while, his friend heard an awful commotion up in the tree. Then he heard a voice screaming down at him, "Help! Help!"
"What'll I do?"
"Just shoot up here amongst us," his friend said. "One of us has got to have some relief."
Does your life ever feel like you're wrestling with a wildcat and somehow, somewhere, you have to get some relief? If so, you're not alone.
Psychologist Richard Wiseman asserts that people actually need more relief now than ever before. We are living more stressful, faster-paced lives than ever. He cites the results of an international study conducted in collaboration with the British Council to measure the speed of life.
The experiment was conducted by researchers who secretly timed how fast thousands of pedestrians walked in city centers across the globe, including London, Madrid, Singapore and New York. Granted, this is not the most scientific experiment, but it is fascinating nevertheless.
Prof. Richard Wiseman says, "This simple measurement provides a significant insight into the physical and social health of a city."
Where do the fastest walkers live? In order of speed, they are found in Singapore (Singapore), Copenhagen (Denmark), Madrid (Spain), Guangzhou (China) and Dublin (Ireland).
According to this study, we live about 10% faster now than twenty years ago, when a similar experiment was conducted. The biggest changes are found in and around Asia, where the pace of life in Guangzhou (China) increased by over 20% and where Singapore showed a 30% increase.
A common American expression is, "Chill." Are you anxious and uptight? Chill. Need to de-stress? Just take it easy? Chill.
Chilling is pretty good advice, actually. Especially if the word "chill" is spelled this way:
- C - Calm down. When you're anxious, frenzied or pressed, stop. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, "Why?"
- H - Hold back. Set a reasonable pace. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to last, pace yourself. And take time to rest.
- I - Indulge your desire for fun. Do something fun everyday and try to put fun in your usual activities.
- L - Learn how to just be. You already know how to DO. Take time to BE. Don't measure your life by what you accomplish, but by who you are. Be present. Be attentive. But be.
- L - Let it go. You are not responsible for everything and everybody.
In the immortal words of poet Robert Browning, "God's in His Heaven; all's right with the world." You don't have to do it all yourself; you don't have to do it all right now. And some of it you may not have to do at all.
You may feel like you're wrestling with a wildcat. Or maybe you just feel as if you're living too fast. But if you need some relief, "chill" is a good word to remember. Spell it right and you just might get something you don't expect. Happiness.